Our Neighbor to the North

As I might have mentioned, there are a lot of Nicaraguans in Costa Rica. They are this country’s equivalent of the US’s latino immigrants who do the menial jobs that natives don’t want (at least not for the pay offered). Most folks here have their houses cleaned and guardhouses manned by Nicaraguenses. Nicaragua is a very poor country without a lot of opportunities for making a livable wage, so Costa Rica, its most affluent neighbor, is the logical place to come.

After the proxy war during the Reagan years between the US and Cuba, Nicaragua became a stable place to live. After Daniel Ortega, the famous head of the Sandinistas, became president, and then Violetta Chamorra, and then Ortega again, Nicaragua was still poor but at peace. That changed earlier in the year when a protest against reducing pensions blossomed into a full-fledged revolt against the regime of Ortega and his wife. Contrary to his origins as a man of the pueblo (people), Ortega has morphed into an oligarch who has been much enriched during his years in office; and it appears that his countrymen will settle for nothing less than his ouster. His forces, in their attempts to quell the uprising, have been brutal and left many people dead; and there is no end in sight. The Nicaraguan community in CR is quite politically active and has organized numerous protests here in the capital of San Jose.

United we will win a Free Nicaragua

A Nicaraguan friend of mine invited me to an event at her church which was a fundraiser for families whose loved ones were killed or wounded during the protests. I ubered in to a part of San Jose called Sabana Sur. There were food and several items for sale, and, in one part of the church people were dancing to live music. Unfortunately, while my comprehension is getting quite good, I find the Nicaraguan accent almost indecipherable. So I smiled and said friendly things (at least they had no trouble understanding me) and bought a few items, all for a good cause. I saw a woman selling cakes, so I bought one; this impressed a couple of women nearby, because, unknown to me, the woman was in fact selling individual slices. I received a small round of applause for my unintentionally generous contribution, so I nodded and moved on. I never found my friend, who was, it seems, selling tickets at the entrance and had left her phone in her purse. So, I took some pictures and, after an hour, ubered back to my house. In consideration of my ever-expanding waistline, I gave the cake to the guards on my street, who were grateful. I didn’t enlighten as to the reason for my gift; I figured they didn’t need to know.

All for my king and my queen

They church was lovely and the people friendly. And I scored a couple of cool coffee mugs.

“Nicaragua, I’m with you” and “It already smells like freedom.”