31 March 2014

Possible implications of the U.S. 'pivot' to the Pacific?

The Obama administration’s “Pacific Pivot” will make it more difficult than ever for countries of the region to stay neutral in an emerging rivalry between the United States and China. Credit: U.S. Navy/public domain
The Obama administration’s “Pacific Pivot” will make it more difficult than ever for countries of the region to stay neutral in an emerging rivalry between the United States and China. Credit: U.S. Navy/public domain

WASHINGTON, Mar 25 2014 (IPS) - To pivot, according to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary, means “to turn as on a pivot.” Which takes us to the noun, which seems more appropriate for describing the Obama administration’s Pacific policy: “That on which anything turns; a cardinal or central point.”
The problem, however, is that finding a cardinal or a central point in the administration’s Pacific policy is extremely difficult. What is clear is only a verb tense.
At the climax of this awesome conflict, the massive land power will confront the formidable sea power.
The United States is turning from more than a decade of war – ineffective and costly – in western Asia to a more important and strategic region, eastern Asia, plus the waters that approach it. Perhaps the central point of the pivot is Asia, and the United States is switching from one end to the other.
The “Pacific,” however, suggests a broader turn, although new allies and commitments in the Indian Ocean seem to balance if not outweigh those in the Pacific Ocean. India is the most potent example, a country located more or less at a central point.
If geographical and policy clarity is lacking, so is clarity around security, and in particular military security. Muddling matters more, U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on Feb. 25 outlined a resource approach that implied that China is the number one challenge for the United States, therefore land forces will subsidise sea and air forces.


Montserrat Premier Meade Presents 2014-2015 Budget

Restoring Growth

Expanding Opportunities

Presented by 

Honourable Premier Reuben T Meade

delivered in the
Montserrat Legislative Assembly

24th  March 2014 



1.                       I have the honour of presenting this budget address at a time when the challenges facing our island continue to be very significant. I am also mindful that in the next few months we will exercise one of our most fundamental rights, that is, to elect a government to continue the developmental process.  This budget statement must therefore be a report of our stewardship over the past four and a half years and also an indication of our policies and programs to support our vision for the next five years.

2.                       It is a vision that carries with it huge political, economic and social programmes. It is also being presented at a time when the more prosperous nations of the world are struggling to maintain a stable socio-economic environment. Over the last four and a half years, the people of Montserrat under MCAP's administration have been on a mission.  It involved the challenge not only of stabilizing the economy but also establishing a platform for recovery and growth.

3.                       This vision has had the overwhelming support and confidence of our development partners. This is evidenced by the increase in budgetary and development resources that we have been able to negotiate with our two major development partners, namely Her Majestys Government and the European Union.  The local public servants and the business community have also provided critical support in delivering improved service.

4.              Let me take this opportunity to thank all the Montserratians and those who have made Montserrat their place of residence for their continued support and interest in the development of our land.  It is so easy to allow the challenging economic environment to undermine the reputation and friendly atmosphere for which Montserrat is renowned.  The MCAP Administration invites all to pause and reflect on the progress that has been made so far.


30 March 2014

Another stolen generation: how Australia still wrecks Aboriginal families

The Guardian home

The mass removal of Indigenous children from their parents continues unabated – where is the outrage?

The tape is searing. There is the voice of an infant screaming as he is wrenched from his mother, who pleads, "There is nothing wrong with my baby. Why are you doing this to us? I would've been hung years ago, wouldn't I? Because [as an Aboriginal Australian] you're guilty before you're found innocent." The child's grandmother demands to know why "the stealing of our kids is happening all over again". A welfare official says, "I'm gunna take him, mate."
This happened to an Aboriginal family in outback New South Wales. It is happening across Australia in a scandalous and largely unrecognised abuse of human rights that evokes the infamous stolen generation of the last century. Up to the 1970s, thousands of mixed-race children were stolen from their mothers by welfare officials. The children were given to institutions as cheap or slave labour; many were abused.
Described by a chief protector of Aborigines as "breeding out the colour", the policy was known as assimilation. It was influenced by the same eugenics movement that inspired the Nazis. In 1997 a landmark report, Bringing Them Home, disclosed that as many 50,000 children and their mothers had endured "the humiliation, the degradation and sheer brutality of the act of forced separation ... the product of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state". The report called this genocide.

27 March 2014

Experimental seabed mining part of the UK’s continuing colonial vision

The  British colonial empire

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

The United Kingdom built an Empire in the 19th Century so it could make itself rich by plundering the resources of foreign countries while inflicting terrible abuses on the local ‘savages’ (which it pretended to be ‘civilising’ and ‘developing’). Today the UK sees nothing wrong in continuing that tradition with experimental seabed mining…

Deep sea mining could give UK ‘minerals and wealth’


Deep sea mining could provide the UK economy with a “great deal” of mineral resources and wealth, a marine biologist has claimed.

The idea comes as government leaders, marine biologists and mining experts prepare to discuss how the process can become a commercial reality.

Minerals found in the sea bed include copper and rare earth minerals which are in great demand for their use in smartphones and other gadgets.

Marine biologist Dr Jon Copley told BBC Radio 5 live’s Morning Reports: “The copper there and zinc could be worth £150 billion pounds and that’s just the vents we know about.”

26 March 2014

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat leads Assessment in Marshall Islands to enhance Access and Management of Climate Change Finance

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) recently undertook a climate change finance assessment in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to help the small island nation better access and manage climate change finance.

According to Chief Secretary of the RMI, Mr. Casten Nemra, “The assessment is timely because it will inform us of the current situation and the steps needed to enable us to tap much needed climate finance sources that would strengthen the resilience of our communities and atoll islands to the adverse effects of climate change.”

The assessment follows a formal request made by the Government of RMI and is being undertaken as a collaborative initiative between the PIFS and development partners, including USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (SPC-GCCA: PSIS programme) funded by the European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), and the RMI Government. The Australian Government is also providing funding for the assessment.

Following consultations and briefings with key stakeholders, including members of the RMI National Climate Change Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary, the Minister responsible for climate change, all key line Ministries and entities in RMI that have a role in climate change; the Mayors Association; development partners present in-country; NGOs, and educational institutions, the joint team are now in a position to produce a report that will provide strategic advice to the RMI Government on the sources of funding for climate related activities, policies and plans, public financial management and expenditure, institutional and human capacities, and development effectiveness.

“With climate change at the forefront of our Government’s priority, we believe that partnership at all levels is crucial in order for a small island nation like ours to effectively access and manage international climate change finance to respond to adverse impacts of climate change,” says Honorable Tony deBrum, the national Minister responsible for Climate Change.

“The Secretariat was pleased to receive the request from the RMI Government and wishes to commend RMI for the leadership shown in continuing to place climate change at the forefront of high level political discussions in the region and internationally,” says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “The Forum Secretariat has taken a multi-stakeholder, multi-partner approach to this joint mission, to ensure that findings of this assessment are comprehensive and useful to the RMI government on various levels, and particularly to increase and improve RMI’s ability to access climate financing, strengthen coordination and implementation of climate related efforts, now and into the future.”

This assessment complements and builds on other existing frameworks including the Forum Compact work in identifying gaps and areas of progress, and how development partners and other stakeholders could effectively collaborate to assist national efforts on Climate Change Financing,” added Mr. Slade.

The joint team intends to undertake a follow-up visit in April to present the preliminary findings and discuss the necessary follow-up actions with the RMI.


For media enquiries, contact media@forumsec.org

Slavery and the slave trade are 'crimes against humanity' - President of the United Nations General Assembly John Ashe


H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe 
President of the 68th
 Session of the United Nations 
General Assembly

New York 
25 March 2014 


Follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary 
of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade: commemorative 
meeting on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of 
the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade [item 120]

"Today we commemorate the spirit, courage and legacy of millions of men, women and children who were victims of one of the darkest and most abhorrent chapters in history – the Transatlantic Slave Trade. As we gather for this year’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, we call to mind the memory of all those who suffered the cruelty and injustice of the largest forced migration in history." 

A number of commemorative activities will be held in observance of this Day and I encourage the support and participation of all Member States. 

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond,” and this year we acknowledge the role of a country synonymous with the quest for freedom against the institution of slavery. The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 is considered by historians to be the most successful and sustained slave revolt to have ever occurred. Led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, and others like Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe, the Haitian revolution was a defining moment in the histories of Europe and the Americas, and culminated in the birth of a new nation, the Republic of Haiti, which celebrated its 210th anniversary in January 2014.



25 March 2014

French Overseas Departments, cooperation and the process of major hazard prevention in the Caribbean


The heterogeneity of territories is the major characteristic of the Caribbean region with various legal and political structures, cultural and linguistic differences (Dutch, English, French and Spanish), disparate socio-economic development as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI) ranging from 0.471 for Haiti to 0.850 and 0.858 for Guadeloupe and Martinique respectively. However, whether independent Small Island Developing States (SIDS) or non-independent territories of European nations (French and Dutch), the regional territories share many problems, particularly in terms of vulnerability to natural hazards and poor connectivity.

Despite similar vulnerabilities, converging priorities and the efforts of the various regional parties, cooperation between non-EU Caribbean territories and the French regions of the area, remains below its potential. These actions have been struggling to lead to the creation of common practices which may contribute to the effective integration of French Departments of America (DFA). One explanation for this struggle lies in a lack of mutual knowledge and difficulty in identifying the actors and initiatives at different levels of the French public sector, especially in the prevention and management of natural hazards. This article will succinctly present some of the predominant actors and tools of the French approach to the prevention of major risks, before discussing some projects supported under the European inter-regional (INTERREG) program.

The French public management structures for major natural hazards cover different levels of decision and intervention. Thus the prevention of major risks is an activity that involves several ministries, local authorities, and various government agencies. The Ministries of Sustainable Development, Agriculture, Education, and Research intervene under the areas of safety information, monitoring, public education, risk mitigation and management, while the Ministry of the Interior handles preparation and crisis management. Under these components, and within the territorial levels corresponding to each DFA, the two main actors in the disaster response arena are the County Prefects with responsibility for local implementation of state policies and the Mayors of each of the 32, 34 and 22 municipalities in Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana respectively.

Each County Prefect establishes a Departmental File for Hazards Risks, which informs the cities about the existing risks and their consequences for people, property and the environment and also lists the specific plan for the prevention of foreseeable hazards as well as for intervention for industries. The County Prefect is also responsible for a civil defence response which determines the general organisation of any rescue effort and identifies all public and private bodies capable of being deployed given the hazards that exist in each provincial department. An inter-service defence and civil protection team responsible for assisting in the management of risk and crisis throughout all three phases (prevention, operational and post-crisis) supports the actions of the County Prefect in conjunction with the armed forces, local authorities, and other agencies.

At the local level, the mayor, responsible for urban planning and security, informs the population about disaster risks and organises emergency first aid actions in case of a crisis. To this end, he establishes tools such as the City Information File about hazard risks plans for the prevention of foreseeable environmental hazards, and a local disaster plan, which lists the local resources available to the city in case of a major event such as rescue services and charitable organisations.

Alongside these actors charged with the power to police, local authorities have a crucial role in the management of resources deployed for disaster prevention. For example, in Martinique, as part of the Caribbean Earthquake Plan (CEP) developed by France, both the Regional Council and the General Council contribute to the resilience of schools in the occurrence of a major geological hazard. The recently approved General Council plan for the seismic strengthening of buildings has resulted in the retrofitting of those colleges most damaged by the 2007 earthquake. Additionally, by establishing investment policies and providing financing for the equipping of selected classrooms with locally developed para-seismic desks, these local authorities make the CEP a tool for both mitigation and economic recovery.

The competence, experience and expertise of the various French actors at all levels of intervention allow for consideration of various forms of sharing and support to neighbouring countries. Regional cooperation instruments, such as the Regional Cooperation Fund or the INTERREG Operational Programmes (OP) for the Amazonia (Brazil, Suriname, and Guyana) and the Caribbean, are aimed at strengthening cooperation and exchange of experiences through joint initiatives at the appropriate territorial levels.

The 2007/2013 INTERREG Caribbean OP identifies the prevention of natural hazards as a priority by supporting actions in hazard identification, risk management and planning, preparation, prevention, public information and education, 

Of these last two components, several entities within the French territories were supported in their preparation for natural disasters; whether through improvement and harmonization of response protocols or through training of persons in vulnerable and isolated communities to act as local intervention teams.

Monitoring is another major component of INTERREG support through the initiatives such as TSUNAHOULE and TSUAREG. The former involves the numerical modelling of Caribbean marine natural hazards, and the latter provides for the acquisition and installation of equipment to provide information on earthquakes and tsunamis from scientific organizations to local authorities. Finally, the CARIB RISK CLUSTER project establishes a solid foundation for technical cooperation based on feedback about best practices and solutions.

One of the projects the ACS is currently pursuing in conjunction with the DFAs, is the establishment of a certified diploma in disaster management and risk prevention, recognised both in the European Union and the Caribbean. This will serve to improve the skill set of regional disaster management professionals while allowing for the sharing of best practices from distinct viewpoints.

Following the 19th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the ACS, cooperation between the French overseas territories and the rest of the Caribbean has now entered a new era, with approval for the territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe to become Associate Members in their own right. Notwithstanding this change, France will continue to function as an Associate Member representing the interests of St. Martin, French Guiana and St. Bartholomew. 

As part of the regional cooperation agenda, the ACS aims to further build bridges with the French territories that take full advantage of the great potential for collaboration in the area of disaster risk reduction.

About the ACS

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba, Curaçao, and France on behalf of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin

Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty



The Asia-Pacific Journal 
Vol. 12, Issue 7, No. 4, February 17, 2014. 

Kyle Cleveland 


The nuclear disaster in Fukushima which followed in the wake of the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami has given rise to one of the most significant public health crises in modern world history, with profound implications for how nuclear energy is perceived. This paper analyzes the most dire phase of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, showing how the level of risk was assessed by nuclear experts and state-level actors who worked largely out of view of public scrutiny. In addition to examining how the accident progression in the reactors was addressed and conveyed to the general public, the paper addresses how the exclusionary zones were determined by Japanese and foreign governments in Japan. 

As the crisis unfolded and efforts to bring the reactors under control were initially proving ineffective, concerns increased that radiation dispersion was unmitigated, and with radiation monitoring by the U.S. military indicating levels significantly beyond TEPCO’s conservative assessments, the United States broke with Japan, recommending an 80km exclusionary zone, and initiating military assisted departures for embassy staff and Department of Defense dependents from Japan. These actions deviated significantly from Japan’s assessments (which had established a 30km evacuation zone), creating a dynamic where the U.S. provided technical consultation for the nuclear response while striving to maintain a delicate diplomatic balance as they attempted to impose a qualitatively different crisis management response. 

Because this crisis had significant implications for Japan's international relations, diplomatic considerations have helped to suppress the complex, often fractious relations between Japan and foreign governments - especially the United States - whose collective efforts eventually turned the tide from managing the nuclear meltdowns to ameliorating their long-term consequences. Based on interviews with political officials in both the Japanese government and foreign embassies in Japan, and nuclear experts and military officers who worked the crisis, the paper analyzes how technical assessments drove decision making and were translated into political policy. 


Haitians launch new lawsuit against UN over thousands of cholera deaths


The Guardian home

The United Nations is facing a huge new lawsuit over the outbreak of cholera in Haiti that has widely been blamed on its peacekeepers, after 1,500 Haitian victims and their family members sued the international body in a federal court in Brooklyn in a class action.
The size of the suit substantially increases the stakes for the UN in this long-running saga. The plaintiffs seek to hold the UN responsible for the health catastrophe, as well as demanding compensation for victims and a UN-sponsored mission to help devastated Haitian communities.
The UN has consistently refused to accept any role in the disaster, and has claimed immunity from legal actions such as the one just lodged in Brooklyn, and a similar class action filed on behalf of a sample group of five Haitians last year. Latest figures suggest that more than 9,000 people have died in the outbreak, which has spread from Haiti to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico, with a total of about 700,000 having been sickened.
There have also been at least confirmed cases of cholera in New York which is home to one of the largest communities of Haitians outside the Caribbean nation.
The lawsuit alleges that the cholera outbreak resulted from “the negligent, reckless, and tortious conduct of the … United Nations; its subsidiary, the United Nations Stablization Mission in Haiti; and its officers… The sickness, death and continual ongoing harm from cholera suffered by Haiti’s citizens are a direct result of the UN’s multiple systematic failures.”
The legal action chronicles the mounting evidence that UN peacekeepers from Nepal carried with them the Asian strain of cholera when they arrived in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. The outbreak, which began in October of that year, was the first instance of cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years.
The lawsuit catalogues what it claims were the UN’s negligent actions. UN troops coming from Nepal, where cholera is endemic, were not screened for the disease.
The UN mission hired a private contractor to ensure sanitary conditions for its force in Haiti, but the contractor was poorly managed and failed to provide adequate infrastructure at the UN camp in Mirebalais. As a result, contaminated sewerage was deposited in the Meille river, a tributary of the Artibonite, Haiti’s longest and most important river.
Crucially, the lawsuit argues that the UN is not immune from liability in such cases. It points out that acceptance of liability “was an express condition agreed to by the United Nations when it created Status of Forces Agreements such as the one which permitted it to enter Haiti.”
The first named plaintiff, Marie Laventure, is a Haitian living in Atlanta, Georgia, who has eight siblings still living in Haiti. She lost her father and stepmother to the cholera contagion.
In a statement, she said: “The death and injury caused by the UN cholera contagion in Haiti is heartbreaking. It has taken my parents and is threatening the lives of my young brothers and sisters in Haiti. Justice demands UN accountability for violating the most important human right, the right to live.”

24 March 2014

Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson Named Dean of University of Virgin Islands (UVI) College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Press Release

UVI is pleased to announce that Dr. Simon B. Jones-Hendrickson, professor of economics, has been appointed dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS). Dr. Jones-Hendrickson has been serving in the role of interim dean for CLASS since 2012.

Dr. Jones-Hendrickson brings a wealth of international experience and recognition to the role. He served in a diplomatic capacity from 2001 to 2004 as the ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), CARICOM and ACS (Association of Caribbean States). He also currently (since 2010) serves as the president of the Eastern Caribbean Copyright Licensing Association and is appointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies.

Dr. Jones-Hendrickson first came to the University of the Virgin Islands as an undergraduate student, earning an AA in business administration. He would go on to earn bachelor of science and master of science degrees in economics from Illinois State University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Exeter in England. Dr. Jones-Hendrickson has authored publications and articles in the areas of economics, higher education and leadership, especially pertaining to the Caribbean. He has also produced a number of commissioned reports on matters relating to the Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean. Dr. Jones-Hendrickson's teaching career with UVI began in the summer of 1972 as a lecturer in economics. He taught at the University of the West Indies between 1973 and 1976, and has been on faculty in the area of economics at UVI from 1976 to present. He was chair of the then Division of Social Sciences from 1993-1996.

This appointment will help the University as it focuses on achieving the many goals outlined in the strategic plan, Pathways to Greatness. Dr. Jones-Hendrickson, as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will continue to play a pivotal role as a member of the leadership team for the academic component

21 March 2014

El orgullo negro de Managua

PRESS.  The Journal of Nicaraguans.  Nicaragua


  • Se mezclan entre los mestizos de la ciudad. Tienen sus espacios de encuentro y en el hogar se habla el creole o inglés. Aún cocinan rundown (rondón), patí y pan de coco. Son los afrodescendientes de Nicaragua que se han establecido en barrios populares de la capital a partir de 1960

Por Róger Almanza G.

Hooker, Hogdson, Campbell, Tobie, Taylor y Prudo son algunos de los apellidos que en Managua suenan a Costa Atlántica. Son apellidos de negros, de esos casi veinte mil afrodescendientes, que de acuerdo con el Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2005, habitan en el país y de los cuales un buen grupo ha llegado a establecerse a la capital.

Viven en barrios como Las Torres, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, Jardines de Veracruz y Ciudad Jardín, comenta la antropóloga María Dolores Álvarez, docente de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN).

Pero el sector más popular para los afrodescendientes en Managua es Bello Horizonte. Tanto que su nombre empieza a cambiar como “Negrorizonte”, un apodo que los propios costeños le han dado.

En los barrios como el Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, donde viven algunas de las familias de negros o afrodescendientes, el ritmo no falta. Se cuela por las ventanas de las casas y es el sonido de su música. No precisamente el palo de mayo como en el Pacífico se cree. En sus casas suele sonar Bob Marley con su reggae, o un reggae soul o punta garífuna, entre otros ritmos caribeños. Aquí, en los barrios de negros, algunas familias ofrecen de venta la tradicional empanada de carne llamada patí y el redondo y pesado pan de coco. Sus clientes son los mestizos o españoles como suelen nombrar algunos a los originarios del Pacífico de Nicaragua.

Pero es en Bello Horizonte donde los afrodescendientes se reúnen y encuentran varios espacios donde compartir y mantener la herencia cultural viva: su lengua y la música.

Entre mesas y ritmos caribeños, el inglés creole o el inglés estándar se confunden en las pláticas, el español se pierde y solo uno que otro mestizo del Pacífico que gusta del ambiente costeño habla en español.

Al sur de la rotonda de Bello Horizonte está el bar Bloque Costeño, con casi veinte años de funcionar. Aquí, esta noche se reencuentran amigos de la infancia separados desde hace décadas y dos hermanos, Shelby Chon Ingle y Kerry Chon Downs se encuentran después de tres años de no verse.

El Bloque o Club Costeño como lo llaman los clientes es el espacio donde los negros descendientes de los africanos prefieren ir cada noche, no importa el día. “Siempre hay un negro con quien compartir”, dice Luisa Ortega, caribeña y modelo que radica en Managua y es la dueña del lugar.


La antropóloga María Dolores Álvarez explica que los negros empiezan a venir a Managua buscando educación. “Hay mayor interés de negros por educarse que de indígenas. Los negros tienen más ímpetu para ser académicos. Es por los años veinte y treinta cuando los negros tienen más acceso a mejor remuneración por su trabajo en las minas y enclaves de bananos y madera. Empiezan a estudiar”, comenta Álvarez.

El Colegio Bautista fue el primero que aceptó a niños negros, en los años sesenta. De acuerdo con los datos recopilados por Álvarez, este fue el único colegio que en esa década aceptó una colonia de afrodescendientes. En la misma década, los antropólogos ubican una de las más importantes oleadas de inmigrantes negros hacia Managua.

“Lo más complicado fue que aquí en el Pacífico no miraban con buenos ojos a los negros, eran vistos como esclavos. La ideología de los años sesenta fue muy discriminatoria. Fue entonces que los negros se esforzaron por destacarse en diversas áreas, además de la académica, cultural y los negocios y muchos en esa época se van a Jamaica, Miami y Nueva York”, comenta Álvarez, quien calcula que en ese entonces al menos cien familias se habían establecido en la capital.

Otros antropólogos destacan que las primeras migraciones en los años sesenta se caracterizan porque fueron familias con alguna solvencia económica y que podían enviar a sus hijos a las universidades.

Hoy por hoy, las generaciones más jóvenes tienen en común la pertenencia de familias que se han mantenido en el tiempo, gozan de un linaje, son la tercera generación de los negros que llegaron a Managua hace medio siglo.

Si bien, la educación fue la principal razón de inmigración de los afrodescendientes a Managua, para Cora Luisa Antonio, superintendente de las iglesias moravas, las fuentes de trabajo son una razón igual de importante y que siguen teniendo peso al momento en que un afrodescendiente decide inmigrar a Managua.


Álvarez comenta que no existe una identidad clara de afrodescendientes, al menos entre ellos.

“Desde la identidad negra, el ser negro es la forma más digna de identificarse. Se autodenominan negros o black people”.

“Soy africano nacido en Bluefields” se presenta Washington HODSON, de 60 años, y que a los 18 años llegó a Managua como pelotero y representante de la costa Caribe en el campeonato nacional de baseball de los años setenta.

Se quedó viviendo en Managua y su descendencia es mestiza. Extraña su tierra, pero ya siente estar acostumbrado a esta ciudad. “Siempre hubo roce con los del Pacífico, pero siempre he creído que es el resultado de la ignorancia, porque no conocen su realidad ni su propia historia”.

Hoy su casa se ha convertido desde hace 15 años en un punto de referencia para los costeños en Managua. La convirtió en un restaurante de comida costeña, llamado Bambule en el barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro.

Aquí las historias surgen solas entre los costeños, la mayoría afrodescendiente, mientras vuelven a sentir el sabor que crearon sus ancestros. Pero no es solo la comida, al costeño le gusta el ambiente, Bambule, construido de madera y decoración caribeña, los encierra en un momento en las tierras de sus abuelos.

Sus dos sobrinos más jóvenes se mudaron con él hace unos meses, Mishelly Budier Taylor de 22 años y Keyshon Dudley Taylor de 17. Han venido a estudiar y no sienten el mencionado “choque cultural” que su tío Washington menciona a veces, cuando recuerda su llegada a Managua.

Los jóvenes originarios de Bluefields no se han topado con discriminación ni con problemas del idioma, más bien se han sabido adaptar con rapidez y no pretenden volver a la Costa Atlántica sin haber terminado la carrera universitaria.

El contacto negro en Managua

Falta una hora para la medianoche y los bares y discos caribeños en Bello Horizonte empiezan a llenarse. Reciben cada noche a grupos de afrodescendientes de la tercera generación que no nacieron en la Costa Atlántica, pero que están orgullosos de sus raíces negras.

En estos centros nocturnos suena el reggae, música soca que anima a los negros y negras jóvenes, quizá mayores de 18 años, pero no pasan la barrera de los 25, en su mayoría. Todos estos lugares ubicados en la rotonda de Bello Horizonte.

Álvarez cree que esta última generación es la que podría desarticular la cultura de los afrodescendientes que viven en Managua.

“La gente de la primera generación vive su nostalgia y su vínculo con su abuela, esta generación ha muerto, es gente que empezó a venir en los años veinte. Por otro lado, los negros que llegaron a Managua en los años sesenta se autodenominan negros y comen su comida tradicional y visitan las iglesias moravas. Los hijos de esta generación ya son nacidos en Managua y son negros con identidad negra total, pero sus hijos, una siguiente generación, empiezan a vincularse más con el mundo mestizo. Están obligados a hablar más el español porque se integran al sistema educativo donde no tienen un enfoque de su cultura e historia”, destaca Álvarez.

Sin embargo, los riesgos de que su cultura se pierda se trata de recuperar en casa, las familias cocinan sus comidas tradicionales y no hablan español.

Los negros en Managua se identifican entre sí no solo por el color sino por la pertenencia a un clan familiar. “Tiene preferencia por la forma de vida urbana, por los alimentos de su tierra y la religión morava y algunos rastros de la cultura ancestral africana y mantienen la creencia en sus ancestros”, comenta la antropóloga María Dolores Álvarez.

Aunque son pocos, el impacto y el aporte a la multiculturalidad en el país es grande. Han logrado destacar en ejes como el deportivo, y las artes como June Beer y en la danza, Gloria Bacon. En la literatura, David Macfields y Carlos Rigby, entre otros.

Actualmente los afrodescendientes ocupan espacios importantes en la política como Francisco Campbell, embajador de Nicaragua en Washington. Humberto Campbell dirige la secretaría para el desarrollo del Caribe. Valdrack Jaentschke , vicecanciller de Cooperación Externa o Bridget Boudier diputada al Parlacen.

Orgullo de “black people”

Al negro o descendiente afro se le puede definir por la persistencia en su cultura y ese sentido de orgullo impregnado por el referente inglés, su lengua y la manera en que se ven.

También existe la magia. Los negros desarrollan magia en los alimentos. “Si una persona te quiere enamorar te pone en la comida “algo”, ellos lo llaman “sontín”, que viene del inglés “something”.

Además hay magia que puede hacer daño. Álvarez explica que “si se hizo un daño, hay una mezcla de autocastigo, como creencia mágica de que lo han hechizado y quitar el hechizo incluye pedir perdón o revertir el daño”.

Los afrodescendientes que inmigraron a Managua siempre tuvieron que afrontar los prejuicios y los estigmas de un pueblo desconocido. Ahora hay mayor multiculturalidad y hay mayor reconocimiento y la nueva generación tiene mayor ventaja, pero no se asimilan totalmente a la cultura del Pacífico. Jamás se desvincularán de la Costa Atlántica de Nicaragua.

20 March 2014

Virgin Islands to participate in Global Partnership for Oceans

Press Release

The Virgin Islands officially joined the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO) at a ceremony at the US Department of the Interior in Washington, DC held on the margins of the Global Island Partnership Information Day.

At the ceremony held on February 20, the Virgin islands was represented by Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering and accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley and Deputy Director of the BVI London Office Mr. Benito Wheatley. Representing GPO were Interim Secretariat Head and Environmental Scientist at the World Bank Dr. Valerie Hickey, accompanied by Senior Communications Officer (Environment Department) Ms. Elisabeth Mealey.
In remarks made at the ceremony, Dr. Hickey said “We are pleased that the British Virgin Islands has decided to join the Global Partnership for Oceans. We believe the BVI will be an invaluable partner as we take steps toward ocean sustainability.”

The Deputy Premier noted, “The BVI is happy to join the global effort to sustainably management of the world’s oceans, which are a vital resource to the BVI and on which our livelihood and the livelihood of so many others around the world depend. At home we are already taking steps in a number of areas to ensure we are doing our part.”

The BVI’s membership in the GPO comes as Government seeks to gain greater insight on best international practices in managing the marine environment.
The Global Partnership for Oceans was launched in February 2012 spearheaded by the World Bank. The partnership brings together over 140 governments, international organisations, civil society groups, and private sector interests to address threats to the health, productivity and resilience of the ocean. Its main objectives are to advance sustainable fisheries, conserve the coastal and marine environment and reduce pollution of the ocean.

For more information online about the Global Partnership for Oceans, readers can go to http://www.globalpartnershipforoceans.org/about

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour strives to effectively manage and administer the Territory’s Natural Resources in a manner that ensures long-term sustainability.