From Fri May 17 19:30:06 2002
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 11:35:03 -0500 (CDT)
From: Nicaragua Network <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 138392
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

‘Dry Canal’ Discussions Anger Indigenous Communities

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 13 May 2002

Indigenous leaders of Monkey Point on Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast met with representatives of the SIT-Global Consortium, one of the companies that would like to construct an inter-oceanic railway system across Nicaragua. The meeting was supposed to be the occasion for the company to hear the views of the communities that would be affected by the project, which supposedly would be valued at between US$1.5 and US$2 billion. The meeting was far from amicable, however, as the indigenous leaders demanded demarcation of their lands along with communal land titles so that they would be in a position of having more security over their land. And Gilberto Cuadra, President of SIT-Global, countered with the statement that with or without demarcation, the project will begin!

Francisco Walter, in charge of indigenous demarcation for the Rama Community reacted by exclaiming, To say that the project will be carried out with or without demarcation is an outrage. What you are saying with this is that we don't have any rights, because if we don't have a title we cannot fight for our indigenous lands. If we don't have demarcation, we can't say that this project will continue. In order to calm down the participants, Creole leader Pearl Watson said she appreciated the efforts of the representatives of SIT-Global to meet with the community of Monkey Point. She acknowledged that the company could not solve their problems regarding the demands for land demarcation. The community does not expect SIT-Global to resolve our land problems. You don't have anything to do with this problem; you come to do your work, but the one who does have to deal with us is the government, said Watson.

This was the second trip of SIT-Global to the community and this time they traveled with representatives of the Ministry of Environment (MARENA), who were collecting field information in order to formulate the terms of reference for the environmental assessment study that the company is required to do.