The Cooperative Movement of Nicaragua issued the statement below on May 5, 2018 regarding their participation in the National Dialogue process, which was formally launched on May 16. As of this writing, Orlando Núñez has not been included at the main table of negotiation as requested in this letter. [Graphic with participants listed, from El Nuevo Diario]. We provide a translation into English below. A scanned copy of the original with the full list of signatories is here.
We are reproducing (and, in this case, translating) this document, as we did with the ATC Statement yesterday, in an effort to present the voices of those in Nicaragua that the international media continues to ignore in coverage of the ongoing political crisis. Major media outlets continue to give voice only to the opposition, and a narrow segment of that opposition - those calling for Ortega’s removal from office. There is a wide range of interests and organizations participating in the National Dialogue. Few are wholly uncritical of the government, but most are looking to construct a new consensus for moving forward.
Statement of the Cooperative Movement of Nicaragua
"I lean toward a regime of cooperatives" - A. C. Sandino
The Nicaraguan Cooperative Movement, which brings together 5,000 cooperatives and 300,000 cooperatives, organized into Unions, Centrals, Federations and Departmental Councils of cooperatives, announces the following statement on the situation in Nicaragua and on the Table of National Dialogue.
Statement from the Cooperative Movement of Nicaragua
- We regret the death of young people and police and we show solidarity with the families of the victims.
- We demand that justice be done for the relatives and that the guilty be punished.
- We regret the violence unleashed as a result of the student protests, which in a short time have tarnished the image of the country with all the political, economic and social consequences.
- We encourage the communitarian identity that the National Police has had until now and we discourage any confrontation between the police and the people, especially any act of repression against the civilian population.
- The Nicaraguan cooperative movement has suffered a history of violence from the very first cooperative organized by Sandino in 1934, in which most of the families were bombarded by the National Guard, to the self-defense cooperatives formed during the war of aggression combined with a civil war during the decade of the 1980s, in which our cooperatives were attacked by the forces of the counterrevolution and tens of thousands of peasant families from both sides died. For such reasons we reject all those attitudes that foment violence, war and death, wherever they come from.
- We feel concerned and assume the share of responsibility that correspond to us about what is happening and will happen in Nicaragua, but we celebrate more than 27 years of reconciliation between Sandinista families and families coming from the counterrevolution, living together fraternally within our cooperatives, thus contributing to national reconciliation.
- We recognize and encourage deepening public policies in favor of the cooperative sector by the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, as well as the peaceful climate in which we perform our work, particularly our participation in the Bureaus of Production, Consumption and Trade. Thanks to the peace, organized effort and our active participation in institutions, we have achieved food sovereignty, producing most of the food for our rural and urban families, generating self-employment for 300,000 individuals through our work.
- Perhaps the young people of the city do not have knowledge of this strategic sector of the national economy, partly because the universities have not managed to incorporate even the peasant sector into the academic curriculum, and even less so have they incorporated the cooperative sector; and partly because there exists the impression, even within our institutions, that private business is the only sector that produces national wealth and employment.
- On the reforms to the Institute of the Social Security (INSS), the initial object of the protests, we propose a progressive tax, that is to say that those who earn more pay more. We strongly oppose the privatization of social security and offer to work for cooperative insurance.
- We ask the National Government and the Episcopal Conference that we be included, along with small producers in general, in a four-party agreement, since we are neither business owners nor salaried workers, therefore we do not feel represented by COSEP nor by the labor unions, although our sector is as important as theirs.
- We invite all the living forces of the nation, the government and the opposition, the business sector and churches of all denominations, the academic sector and the media, political parties and the general public, to unite and work for peace, stability and public safety, representative and participatory democracy, the restoration of rights, civil liberties, reconciliation and national unity.
- We respectfully request of the Episcopal Conference and the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity a seat in the National Dialogue and we propose our colleague Orlando Núñez, who has accompanied us all this time, to represent us at the economic table.
- The Cooperatives of the Association of Rural Workers (ATC), the Cooperatives of the National Union of Farmers and Cattle Ranchers (UNAG) and the associations of the Nicaraguan Council for Micro, Small and Mid-size Businesses (CONIMIPYME), join this release.
Managua, 5thof May of the year 2018
We attach the signatures of the various organizations.