(posted Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m.)- The Mosquito Coast’s ancestral Council of Elders is calling on indigenous communities to “organize against the aggression and neutralize the actions of invasion, occupation, destruction of forests, land sales and illegal concession that the State of Nicaragua is promoting as a new form of neo-colonialization.”
In response to the recent indigenous uprising in the community of Lapan, which has taken 12 outsiders prisoner in a tense standoff between indigenous and non-indigenous residents on the Caribbean coast, the Council of Elders today released a five-point declaration blaming the situation on Sandinistas’ political and economic interests in the region.
The elder council’s declaration denounces the “powerful business interests of the Venezuelan ALBA (group) of Hugo Chávez that is claiming ownership of our natural resources,” and calls for solidarity “with the just cause of the community of Lapan for defending themselves against this aggression.”
The indigenous council, which represents the Communitarian Nation of the Moskitia, says it also refuses to recognize “any title, transaction, or illegal payment for indigenous lands.”
“The international treaties of the Moskitia and the Sacred Writings recognize that each national or people has the right to defend its territories,” the declaration reads. “The Sumos Mayangnas, Ramas and Miskitus are the Original Nations with historic rights to the Moskitia.”
The declaration is signed by Otis Lam Hoppington, the eldest living member of the Council of Elders, as well as council directors Alejandro Barquero and Roberto Thomas.
The declaration comes one day after the separatists political leader, the Wihta Tara—or great judge—told The Nicaragua Dispatch that the Communitarian Nation of the Moskitia is not behind the recent uprising in Lapan.
The Council of Elders announced its support for the rebirth of the Communitarian Nation of the Moskitia in 2006, but has been relatively quiet for several years. The government of Nicaragua does not recognize the group’s claim to independence.