The famed Nicaraguan poet, priest and revolutionary Ernesto Cardenal died on March 1, 2020 at the age of 95. Over the years, many of the Quixote Center staff and our partners had met him. Even though he was a public figure, he was also known to be a man of the people, approachable and warm.
The Quixote Center’s work in Nicaragua is currently on hold following the government in Nicaragua’s decision to cancel the legal incorporation of our longtime partner, the Institute of John XXIII/Association Roncalli.
The Quixote Center has worked with the Institute since 1984, when we launched a program for the delivery of humanitarian aid during the US- imposed Contra War. After the war we continued to work with the Institute on a variety of community development, education and health projects. Our work expanded following hurricane Mitch in 1998, involving the integration of housing construction, community organizing and leadership development. Our most recent effort, Homes of Hope, built 200 homes in cooperation with housing cooperatives as well as some individual homeowners between 2017 and 2022.
The government’s decision to cancel the Institute’s legal incorporation means the Institute of John XXIII must now close. Institute staff are currently in discussion with the government concerning the distribution of Institute resources and program activity.
While the remaining staff at the Institute are in these conversations, we are also discerning the future of our work in NIcaragua.
The following report is abridged from the Institute of John XXIII/Assocation Roncali's report on completing the first phase of housing in San Marcos, Nicaragua. The Quixote Center's Homes of Hope program was the principal funder of this housing initiative. We thank all of you who have supported the project thus far!
In 2014, the Quixote Center launched the “Homes of Hope” initiative in partnership with the Institute of John XXIII in Nicaragua. Since that time, we have delivered over $1 million to capitalize housing projects in Nicaragua and the campaign has raised nearly $1.6 million overall.
The program is delivered through two inter-related initiatives managed by the Institute of John XXIII: The Community Housing Program and the Family Housing Program.
The Quixote Center's Annual Report for 2018 is now available. If you like the work we are doing, please consider a tax-deductible contribution. You can designate funds to a specific program, or put it toward general funds that support all of our work.
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Representatives of the Nicaraguan government begin meetings with business leaders and other members of the opposition Civic Alliance starting today. Church leaders are present to witness the discussions, but unlike the dialogue attempted last year – where church leaders were “moderators” – they have no formal role this time.
The Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act has been floating around congress since 2015. The main idea behind the bill is to direct the U.S. Executive Branch to use its voting power in multilateral lending institutions to block any new loans for Nicaragua until a set of reforms regarding elections and transparency is implemented.
Since April 18, the solidarity movement has been struggling over how to interpret events in Nicaragua and where to push in terms of advocacy and/or speaking out. As with many people following the situation, I have watched and listened to friends take a harsh line towards one another and with me about articles I have written. While the division in the solidarity movement is not in and of itself new, the tensions have boiled over. The gulf between people over how the situation is understood and should be represented is enormous. There are even calls from some to support U.S.
I first met Dolly in January of 1996. I had just moved to Washington, D.C. and was looking for a job. I had contacted the Quixote Center a few months prior about the possibility of setting up a small project to donate funds to a clinic in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The clinic served the neighborhood of the Mothers of Heroes and Martyrs, where I stayed in July of 1995 with a Witness for Peace delegation. This had been my first trip to Nicaragua, and the group I was with was eager to help out the community in a meaningful way.
Dolly Pomerleau was one of the pioneers who founded the Quixote Center in 1975. She and Bill Callahan launched this justice work with a strong commitment to social justice in both civil society and within the Catholic Church. In both arenas, that justice included changing structures to establish the equality of women and men. Dolly was utterly committed to that and all the other projects and ideals to which the Center committed itself over the years.