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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Wed Jul 31 13:30:09 2002
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 16:51:57 -0500 (CDT)
From: NicaNet <NicaNet@afgj.org>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline-resend!
Article: 142984
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

New Miskito nation announced!

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 29 July 2002

The indigenous Council of Elders announced in Bilwi on Sunday, July 28, that it is creating an independent nation, to be called the Communitarian Nation of Moskitia, which will come into existence in February of 2003. The Council said that the new nation will have its own model of life, its government, its parliament, its ministers and its laws.

Oscar Hogdson, legal representative of the Council of Elders, said that the decision was taken in November of 2001. He went on, We have an accord signed by representatives of 280 communities to create our nation and live peaceably alongside Nicaragua. We believe that the government of Nicaragua should respect the historic rights of the nation of Moskitia. Hogdson noted, We know that this will create an international conflict, but we are going to exercise our right to self determination. The Organization of American States and the United Nations know about our intentions, and we are waiting for a response from them in the beginning of 2003.

Since the Council of Elders announced its intention of pursuing separate nationhood last November, Council representatives have met with communities in the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast area, in Honduras, and in the Archipelago of San Andres, the territory which Nicaragua disputes with Colombia. Council leaders noted that following the 1894 Convention of Moskitia, which annexed the Atlantic region to Nicaragua, and the subsequent Harrison-Altamirano Treaty, in which Great Britain ceded all rights to that part of Nicaragua, what followed were 100 years of exploitation of the region's natural resources by people from the Pacific side of Nicaragua, allied with whichever government was in power, and by the multinational companies.

We will be free to protect our natural resources, now at a time when governments have nothing and are the employees of the big companies, Hogdson stated. He added, We are united to keep Nicaragua from exploiting the petroleum in Moskitia which belongs to us. We will not allow the oil to be taken out of the ground until the indigenous peoples have the resources to exploit it to benefit our communities. Meanwhile, we will keep these resources as reserves for humanity, just like those in the Bosawas Reserve.

The new nation will have a government with three branches. The Wihta will be the judges; the Tasba Kan Kah Kahbra will be the legislative representatives selected in each community; and the Wihta Tara and Ninka will be the supreme chief and the second chief. The latter will be in charge of an executive branch that will have secretaries of infrastructure, of international relations and of natural resources who will be advised by representatives from the communities. Hogdson noted that there are seven ethnic groups in what will be the new nation. They are mestizos, Miskitos, Sumos or Mayagnas, Ramas, Afro-Nicaraguans, Garifonos and Creoles.

We are not looking for a fight with the Nicaraguan government, Hogdson said, adding that we are only trying to recover the power which has been denied us for over a century. He noted that We were excluded even from the Regional Councils which were formed by political parties and not by those who are the ancestral owners of the resources.

For the moment, the Council of Elders is hoping that the government of Enrique Bolaqos will receive them to explain their decision. In the international arena, besides notifying the U.N. and the OAS, the Council has asked the Embassy of Great Britain in Nicaragua to intercede for them with the government. This is a kind of moral favor that we are asking of the British Crown, Hogdson said, based on the responsibility they had in the 19th century when Moskitia was under English influence.