A.          Background


          1.          Before analyzing the various issues involved in the current human rights situation of a segment of the Nicaraguan population of Miskito origin, the Commission considers it advisable to provide some historical background that may facilitate the understanding of this complex matter.


2.          What is called “the Atlantic coast” of Nicaragua is a region that includes the Department of Zelaya and part of the Department of the Rio San Juan. From time immemorial, this area has been inhabited by the ethnic groups denominated Miskitos, Sumos and Ramas, the sole genuine descendants of the primitive aborigines who inhabited Nicaragua. Of these, the Miskitos are the largest ethnic group.


          3.          As a result of the particular circumstances of the historical development of Nicaraguan society, this part of the country is unlike the pacific region from an ethnic, cultural, historical, linguistic or religious perspective.


          Thus, while the Spanish, Catholic captains and religious orders colonized the Pacific zone, the Atlantic coast was the object of similar activity by the British, who since 1640 has established themselves in the northeast part of this region, dedicated to the exploitation of sugarcane and hardwood.


          4.          The English won and cultivated the friendship of the natives, and occasionally were allied with them in attacks on some Spanish settlements in the interior of the country. To consolidate their domination of the region, in 1687 the British created the Miskito Kingdom, which was brought under the protection of Great Britain. In the same year, the Governor of Jamaica approved the appointment of the Indian chief Oldman as monarch of the Miskito territory; this artificially established the Miskito dynasty, an institution which had not existed previously in Indian social organization. The monarchy lasted until 1894, when Nicaragua again acquired full sovereignty over these lands through the decree of reincorporating of the Mosquitia.


          5.          At the beginning of 1847, the British Government notified the Republics of Central America that what was called the “de la mosquitia” coast, extended from the Cape of Honduras to the southern bank of the San Juan River, and that in the future the Miskito Kingdom should be recognized as a sovereign nation under the protection of Great Britain.


          6.          In 1849 the Atlantic coast witnessed the first arrival in the region of missionaries of the “Unitas Fratum” church, known as the Moravian church because it originated in Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia which soon became the dominant influence in the area, displacing the Catholic Church which maintained its predominance in the pacific region. Thus, by 1900 most of the Miskito and Sumo communities had embraced the Moravian faith; Criollo and Miskito pastors gradually replaced those of German and North American origin, and at present nearly all centers populated by Miskitos have a Moravian pastor trained at the Biblical Institute of Bilwaskarma, on the Coco River.


          7.          The Treaty of Managua was signed in 1860, whereby Great Britain recognized Nicaraguan sovereignty over the Atlantic region and declared that the British protectorate over that territory would expire following exchange instrument of ratification. The Treaty established that the Miskitos would have the right of self-government and the right to govern all residents within the region, in accordance with their own custom and with whatever regulations they adopted that did not contravene the sovereign rights of the Republic of Nicaragua. In turn, the latter agreed to respect and not oppose their customs and regulation.


          Due to the unique status obtained by the Miskitos as result of this arrangement, serious and ongoing problems arose between the authorities of the Republic and those of the Miskito Reserve. On February 12, 1894, this led the Government of Nicaragua to reenact the reserve by means of a Decree issued by the Inspector General of the Atlantic coast, General Rigoberto Cabezas.


          On November 20 of the same year, the inhabitants of the Reserve, speaking through their mayors and delegates, declared their acceptance of the sovereignty of Nicaragua, reserving some privileges though what was called the Miskito Convention.


          8.          On April 19, 1905, Great Britain and Nicaragua signed the Altamirano Harrison Treaty, which annulled the 1860 Treaty of Managua. In accordance with this new instrument, Great Britain recognized the absolute sovereignty of Nicaragua over the Territory constituting the earlier Miskito Reserve.


          Subparagraphs b), c), d) and e) of Article 3 of that Treaty read as follows:


b.       The Government shall allow the Indians to live in their villages in enjoyment of the concession granted under this Convention, and in accordance with their own customs, insofar as they are not contrary to the laws of the country and public morality.


c.       The Government of Nicaragua shall grant them a period of two years to legalize their rights to the property they have acquired in conformity with the provisions that governed the reserve prior to 1894. The Government shall not charge for their lands or for the concession of titles. For that purpose, titles that were owned by the Indians and Creoles prior to 1894 shall be renewed in conformity with the law; and where such title do not exist, the Government shall give each family eight squares of property in their place of residence.


d.       Public land for grazing shall be set aside for the use of the inhabitants in the neighborhood of each Indian village.  

e.       Should any Miskito or Creole Indian prove that the property he owned in accordance with the provisions in force prior to 1894 has been revoked or adjudicated to another person, the Government shall compensate him by granting him idle land of like value, as close to his place of residence as possible.”


9.          The Altamirano-Harrison Treaty closed the chapter on Great Britain’s claims to the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Yet several factors remained that made it difficult to legalize ownership title to the properties that belonged to the Miskitos prior to 1894 and to specify other rights to lands referred to in Article III of the above-mentioned Treaty. Among such factors should be mentioned the lack of precision with respect to the boundaries of the former Miskito Reserve; the difficulty in transportation and communication among the remote Indian communities and with Bluefields, capital of the Department; and the persistence of some Miskito chiefs in considering themselves subjects of the Kingdom of Great Britain.


Even though some communities obtained title to their lands, the problem still remains unresolved, and the Miskitos have since maintained an ongoing claim to compliance with the provisions of the treaty concerning their lands and their right to live in accordance with their customs.


10.          Moreover, the relative economic and social development that took place in the country at the end nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth never reached the Atlantic coast. The liberal and conservative governments that governed the country following the reincorporation of the Miskito reserve until July of 1979 focused their attention on the rest of the country, particularly the Pacific zone. Thus, the Atlantic zone was not included in the general development process of the country, and was subject to economic exploitation and cultural domination.


The natural resources of that region, chiefly mineral, forestry and fishing resource were exploited by national or foreign companies of the pacific region. To mention but a few, these were: The Neptune Gold Mine Company; The Rosario and Light Mine Company; The Nicaraguan Long Leaf Pine Lumber Company (NIPCO); and the Pescanica, Plumar-Blue, and Boot Fishing Companies.


The Miskito population that worked in these enterprises received wages that were considered to be very low, while the Atlantic region, as a whole received no particular benefit as a result of the economic activities of those companies. Thus, the only route of communication with the Pacific zone was by means of navigation of the Rio Escondido from Bluefields to the City of Rama (6 hours), and then by road to Managua (5 hours); the principal population centers-Puerto Cabezas and Las Minas- are linked by rough dirt roads, which are not always passable.


11.          In general, it may be stated that the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua in July of 1979, lacked electricity, drinking water, sanitary facilities, transportation services, communications, radios and schools.


12.          As a reaction to this state of absolute neglect, as a manifestation of the resurgence of an awareness of ethnic identity on the part of the natives vis-à-vis the attempts at acculturation by the previous government, foreign companies, and in general, the populace of the Pacific—whom the Miskitos called “the Spaniards” – and as a means of defending their ancestral rights, in 1972, the Indian organization Alliance for the Progress of the Miskito and Sumo (ALPROMISO) was created, and in November of 1979 this was transformed and replaced by the Organization MISURASATA.[1]


B.          Recent Background


1.          It was not long before serious problems arose between the Indian communities and the Sandinista Government, which has assumed power in July 1979.


2.          According to substantial background material in the hands of the Commission, shortly after the triumph of the revolution, a good part of the Miskito population began to resist the attempts of the new Government of Nicaragua to make them adapt some of their ways of life and tribal organization to the political and social objectives set out by the Sandinista National Liberation Front. (FSLN).


According to reports received by the Commission, the resistance of the Miskitos to such changes, and the insistence of the government that they accept them, gradually gave rise to a distancing of the two groups which sharpened into antagonism, due to the conflict between the FSLN’s expectations of the Miskitos and the expectations of the Miskitos with respect to the Sandinista Government.


3.          As the Indian’s resistance grew, the Government began to apply increasingly drastic measures to control what had become an organized counterrevolutionary movement in the eye of the official authorities, with influence on the whole Atlantic coastal region and with secessionist intent.


On February 19 and 20, 1981, approximately 30 Miskitos leaders of the Misurasata Organization were imprisoned by the State Security forces, among them Brooklyn Rivera, Hazel Lau, and Steadman Fagoth. In addition, the organization’s offices were placed under army control.


Government accused the leaders of Misurasata of promoting a separatist movement on the Atlantic coast. New waves of protest broke out in the area, and led to the formation of February 25 of that year of a Peace Committee comprised of members of the FSLN, Misurasata, and religious institutions.


In response to the recommendations of that Committee, Rivera and Lau were released together with the other leaders who had been captured; Steadman Fagoth, representative of Misurasata in the Council of State, accused of high treason and of being an agent of the Security Force of the previous regime, a charge he denied, was not released.


At the insistence of Misurasata and other organizations, Fagoth was released in May 1981, returned to the Atlantic coast and moved to Honduras, where he was followed by 3,000 Miskitos. Later, in September of that year, Brooklyn Rivera, who had continued to negotiate with the Government on behalf of Misurasata, also left the country.


4.          In July 1981, the Government announced the launching of the Agrarian Reform Program. Misurasata leaders believed that the program should take into account the claims of the Indian communities to ownership of lands involved in the program, since from their viewpoint, it would first have to be determined which lands belonged to them and which others the Government could dispose of without compensation.


Furthermore, the Miskito leaders accused the Government of not observing an Agreement which, in their view afforded the Indian organization a four/month deadline to submit a study in support of their land claims.


5.          In the course of these events, the Government of National Reconstruction repeatedly denounced the existence of anti-Sandinista armed groups operating along the border with Honduras, from within that country, which were organized and led by officers of the disbanded Somocista National Guard. According to the Government of the FSLN, those groups made constant incursions into Nicaraguan territory, attacking border posts and terrorizing the Miskitos who lived in various communities along the Coco River.


In response to this situation, the Nicaraguan Government expanded its military presence in the area, which gave rise to many confrontations or incidents between soldiers and Miskitos, which led some of the Indians to begin seeking refuge in Honduras, by crossing the Coco River border. In the last months of 1981, the incursions of these armed insurgent groups became more frequent, according to the Nicaraguan Government.


6.          According to information received by the Commission, on December 20 and 21, 1981, rebels in opposition to the Government of Nicaragua crossed the Coco River from Honduras and occupied the town of San Carlos, where they ambushed soldiers of the Nicaraguan army, and mutilated and killed several of them. The Government of Nicaragua denounced this incident as part of a massive uprising planned to break out in the towns of the Coco River inhabited by Miskitos, in the course of Christmas week. At the same time, denunciations and information received by the IACHR stated that during this confrontation, and in retaliation for the killings in San Carlos, Sandinista Army forces killed a considerable, although thus far undetermined, number of Miskitos in the area of Leimus and its surroundings.


7.          On December 28, 1981, the Government of Nicaragua decided to move 42 villages of the Coco River region to an area located some 60 kilometers south of the river, on the Rosita-Puerto Cabezas road. The up-river towns, from Leimus to Raiti, had to be evacuated on foot, under very difficult and harsh conditions, as there were no passable roads for vehicles. The down-river villagers, from Leimus to the Atlantic coast, were moved in trucks and most of those evacuated were allowed to take some of their belongings. Throughout January and part of February, q982, approximately 8,500 Miskitos were relocated in five different camps in what the Government has called the Tasba Pri project “free land” in the Miskito language).


8.          As a result of the events related to the so-called Red Christmas operation, many Miskitos were captured by the Government of Nicaragua, and together with some ministers of the Moravian Church, accused of being counterrevolutionaries. A massive exodus then ensued; during which approximately 10,000Miskitos and many Moravian ministers crossed the Coco River into Honduras, where some 8,000 were subsequently settled in refugee camps in the area of Mocoron, in the Gracias a Dios Department.


C.       The Government of Nicaragua invites the IACHR to make an on-site visit


1.          On February 22, 1982, Foreign Minister Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, on behalf of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua, invited the IACHR to visit the country and to directly observe the situation of the new ethnic minority settlements on the Atlantic coast.


The pertinent section of the note addressed to the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño, reads as follows:




2.          The Executive Secretary of the Commission, in reply to the Foreign Minister, indicated that the note would be considered by the IACHR, which would meet on March 1, 1982, at its Fifty-fifth Session.


D.          The Misurasata Complaint


1.          A few days prior to the invitation of the Nicaraguan Government, the Commission received from the Misurasata organization, whose coordinator General is Mr. Brooklyn Rivera, the first formal complaint Indian Miskito people by the Government of Nicaragua.


2.          The complaint was submitted to the Government of Nicaragua on February 24, 1982 in accordance with Article 31 of the Statute of the Commission, with a request for information on the facts described therein. According to the complainant, the facts were as follows.




a.       On December 23, the Sandinista Air Force bombarded the Indian communities Os Asang and San Carlos, located on the bank of the upper Coco River, with “Push and Pull” airplanes and helicopters, killing 60 Indian brothers with 80-lb bombs. Fifteen brothers were taken prisoner from San Carlos in the direction of Waspan or Puerto Cabezas, and among them were: Rev. Higinio Morazan (the community’s Moravian Minister), Juan Saballos, Julian Mansanares, Noel Wellington, Balandor Barrow, Manuel Saballos, Juan Charles, Alberto Zelaya, and Elsa Barrow.


A military air base and 82 members of the Sandinista Army were installed in Asang. San Carlos received reinforcements of 150 troops, with some Cubans among them. Both communities were militarized to prevent the populations from fleeing to Honduras. The soldiers take away the Indian’s food force them to dig trenches, and forbid them to leave their communities in search of food and other necessities.


b.     In Leimus, close to Waspan, 80 brothers from Asang, San Carlos, Waspuk, Krasa, etc., were captured on December 22, as they prepared to travel to their respective communities from Waspan, Puerto Cabezas and Managua in order to spend Christmas and the New Year with their relatives (a Miskito custom). The next night (December 23), the army killed 35 of them, and buried them together in a single grave. Some of those killed were: Norma, Rogelio and Simeon Castro, Joselin and Asel Mercado, Cristina and Mayra Lacayo, Victor and Carlos Perez, Justo Martinez, Villanor Pantin, Roseno Gomez, Luis Fajardo, Efrain Poveda, Celso Flores, Ramiro Damasio, etc. The wives of these brothers were raped by the soldiers from Leimus and later forced to go to their communities. On the 24th, twelve (12) brothers were thrown into the Coco River and killed. On the 26th, four (4) brothers were buried alive near Leimus. The whereabouts of the remaining 80 brothers taken prisoner are unknown. The military base in Leimus runs a concentration camp and a forced labor program for prisoners.


c.     In Bluefields, on December 26, 30 Criollos, Indians and Mestizos were imprisoned without any charges. A civilian Criollo was seriously wounded by a soldier for resisting forced recruitment into the Sandinista Army.


d.      In the Raudales communities (Raiti, Aniwas, Walakitan, Bokay, etc.) along the Coco River, Indians who are part of the Sandinista Army are thrown into the river with heir hands and feet tied for refusing to take part in the massacre of their brothers in those communities. The corpses of many of these military brothers can be found in the communities of Siksayaru and Andristara. In each of the communities of this zone, there are concentrations of from 100 to 3000 soldiers.




a.     On January 7, 300 soldiers appeared in the Sandy Bay Tara community, repressed the people, militarized the community, and took 40 prisoners to Puerto Cabezas. Many Indians were forced to abandon their community and flee to the mountains.


b.     In the Bilwaskarma community of Rio Coco, the Moravian Hospital (the only in the area), was closed and converted into a command headquarters for the army. The community was militarized, and dozens of brothers were taken prisoner, among them, Barbara Diaz (a nurse in the hospital and the daughter of the Minister of the community’s Moravian Church).


c.     In the community of Uhri, down-river on the River Coco, six (6) bombs were dropped by a Push and Pull airplane belonging to the Sandinista army, thus forcing the population to take refuge on the Honduran side.


As a result of the events of Leimus and of Asang-San Carlos, the militarization and bombardment of communities, the capture and massive repression of the Indians, persecution of church and communal leaders, and the constant military threat to exterminate the Indian race, thousands of brothers from the Rio Coco communities fled to Honduras after December 23, joining those who had gone to that country year earlier. Nearly 6,000 Indians from more than 20 entire communities are already in Honduras; among them, are the Siksayari, Andristara, Karisal, Santa Isabel, Krasa, Taniska, San Sang, Kitaski, Krinkrinkia, Pilpilia, Namahka, Winwika, Paliyuhmba (Esperanza), Isulibila (Santa Fe), Wirapahni (San Alberto), Pransa, Nasuni (San Jeronimo), Ipritingni, Bulsirpi, Lakuntara, Wiswis, Nilwas, Uhri. It should be noted that the brothers of these communities left empty-handed, abandoning their homes, their livestock and their other belongings because of the prevailing situation in the region.




The FSLN is carrying out an intense political propaganda campaign urging the refugee brothers in Honduras to return to their respective communities, since they know that the refugees have suffered hunger and sickness in that country, and the FSLN is offering food, medicine doctors and every kind of assistance. They say that those who kill and oppress the Indians are the Somocistas or the counterrevolutionaries (??0 and to pay no attention to the lies of other groups. But the Indian people is not to be deceived; they know nothing of the existence of such alleged anti-sandinista armed groups, but they have experienced the oppression and bombardment of their communities, the mass killings of their brothers by the soldiers of Sandinismo. What is ironic in this FSLN campaign is that while their propaganda makes an effort to persuade on the basis of lies, their military sets fire to communities, expropriates the livestock and property of the refugees, and forces the few families who remained in the communities to move to another area as alleged refugees.


Beginning on January 11, the military began to burn houses, temples and schools in the communities of Irpitingni, Pransa, El Carmen, Lakun Tara, Bulsirpi, San Jeronimo, Wirapahni, etc.


Also, the livestock (cows and horses) of theses communities are being given over to the INRA (Nicaraguan Institute for Agrarian Reform) and they are then used to feed these same officers (who have red meat daily).


In some communities, such a Santa Fe (Isulibila), Esperanza (Paliyuhmpa) and San Jeronimo (Nasuni) where a few Indian families still remained, the Armed Forces of Sandinismo have forced them to abandon their communities and move to the Tasba Raya area as supposed refugees, under the pretext of protecting them from Somocista and counterrevolutionary groups.


Misurasata DENOUNCES TO THE WORLD THE ETHNOCIDE OF ITS Indians by the Sandinista regime, the massacres at Leimus and Asang-San Carlos, the dozen of prisoners from San Carlos, Sandy Bay Tara, Blue fields, Bilwaskarma, and Leimus, the bombardment and burning of the communities of the Coco River the expropriation of the livestock and other property of the Indian refugees, the persecution of the leaders of the churches and communities, the decision to annihilate the Indian race, the militarization of the communities and especially the defamation campaign to denigrate the authentic struggle of our Indian peoples for their lands and autonomy, which links them to the Somocista or counterrevolutionary groups. We repeat that the Somocistas have always been the enemies of our Indian peoples and we believe that no counterrevolutionary group represents the interests of the Indians of MISURASATA, so that the Indian struggle can in no way be related to the interests of these unknown groups. We denounce that the FSLN, while lacking grounds and fair arguments in the face of the claim of our Indian peoples for the defense of their historical rights, has launched this slanderous campaign to continue to deny us our ancestral rights and in order to exterminate the Nicaraguan Indian race.


3.          In a note dated March 31, 1982, which refers to Case Nº 7964 and to the pertinent sections of the complaint which has been transmitted by the Commission in its note of February 24, the Government of Nicaragua merely noted that:


The Government of National Reconstruction has invited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit and observe in loco the situation of the settlements of the Miskito groups on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. That invitation was accepted by His Excellency, Mr. Tom Farer, Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who will arrive in Nicaragua with a delegation in the first week of May.


The same note adds that:


Our Government has been obliged to defend our country’s sovereignty and at the same time protect the Miskito population from Somocista bans by relocating them in a safe place where they are not in danger. In the Miskito settlements, the most basic of all rights, the right to life is fully protected. The Government of National Reconstruction and the Sandinista Front for National Liberation carry out integral programs to improve and lend dignity to their living conditions, especially with respect to health, education, and housing.


4.          In a note dated May 21, 1982, the Commission reiterated its communication of February 24 to the Government of Nicaragua, and again requested that information it deemed appropriate be submitted to the Commission with respect to the facts in the complaint.


5.          In a note dated June 24, 1982, from the Permanent Mission of Nicaragua to the OAS, the Government of Nicaragua replied to the Commission’s request, with a note dated June 23, 1982 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the pertinent sections of which read as follows:


The Government of Nicaragua was fully convinced that the facts contained in the complaint had been processed by the IACHR during its in situ investigation, carried out from May 4 to 7, and because it was known that these complaints were investigated during the above/mentioned visit carried out at the invitation of the J.G.R.N. to clarify the issue of the Nicaraguans of Miskito origin.


It is difficult for the Government of Nicaragua, as it would be for any other government, to understand why the complaints received by the IACHR prior to its visit to Nicaragua, and during whose stay we have understood investigated those complaints, still require a written reply, especially since the IACHR had that information and the object of its visit was to confirm the truth or falsity of the facts complained of in Case 7964.


Despite the foregoing, this Ministry, at the request of the National Commission of Human Rights, will again urge the competent authorities to submit their own version with a reasonable period of time, since the previous request only allowed a deadline of ten days.


E.    Other complaints and information


1.          The Commission also received other complaints and reports from various individuals and institutions which, with some variation, referred to the facts set forth in the original complaint.[2]


2.          Within this context, the Commission considers it important to refer to the message of the Bishops conference of Nicaragua of February 18, 1982 addressed to the people and Government of Nicaragua and to the families of Miskitos, Sumos and Ladinos.


This message is signed by Monsignor Miguel Obando y Bravo, Archbishop of Managua; Monsignor Pablo A. Vega M., Bishoop of Juigalpa; Monsignor Leovigildo Lopez Pitoria, Bishop of Granada; Monsignor Jualian L. Barni S., Bishop of Matagalpa and Apostolic Administrator of Leon; Monsignor Salvador Schlaefer, Apostolic Vicar of Bluefields; Monsignor Ruben Lopez Ardon, Bishop of Esteli and Monsignor Bosco Vivas Robelo, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua. One part of the message reads as follows:


The events that took place in the Coco River zone, on the border with Honduras, in the Department of Zelaya, Nicaragua, beginning in December, 1981, and which have culminated, on the one hand, in the massive transfer of entire Miskito populations to the interior of the country and on the other, to the flight off a considerable part of the population of that zone to Honduran territory, have had painful effects on all the inhabitants: Miskitos, Sumos and Ladinos of that region.


It is well know that the armed encounters in that zone that took place during those months led to the death of many members of the militia and soldiers of the Popular Sandinista Army, as well as the death of many of their political adversaries and even some uninvolved citizens.


As a result of these events, dozens of people have been detained, and almost all of the towns along the Coco River have been evacuated by the army. Even if the massive evacuation of these towns can be explained militarily we still must regret, from a humane and Christian viewpoint, the displacement of these Indian groups whose roots in hat region go bank to time immemorial: displacements both to the settlements established by the Nicaraguan Government in the interior of the country, as well as to Honduras where many Indian fled, perhaps out of fear, or motivated by the sometimes drastic examples of some of the earlier transfers to he above-mentioned settlements.


As pastors of all our people we feel deeply the suffering caused by the uprooting of these peoples from their lands and we wish them to know that we share their suffering, and that we have for them deep pastoral concern, and fatherly love.


We recognize the government’s authority, and it right to take the necessary measures to guarantee the defense and integrity of the country’s territory.


We also recognize the autonomy of the State and its right to take emergency military measures in all or part of the country to effectively defend the country.


Nevertheless, we wish to remind every one that there are inalienable rights which under no circumstances may be abridged, and we note with sorrowful surprise that in some specific cases, there have been serious violations of the human rights of individuals and families and even of entire villages:


-        Evacuations conducted by the military, with no prior notice or explanation.


-        Forced marches of several days with insufficient consideration for the weak, the elderly, women and children.


-        Charges of counterrevolutionary collaboration aimed at entire groups of the population.


-        The destruction of homes, belongings and livestock.


-        Also, the death of individuals under circumstances which, very much to our regret, remind us of the drama which our brothers in the region are living.


These facts move us to denounce vigorously, attitudes on the part of those who, having power and force in their hands, should always be the first to guarantee the observance of human rights; and to urge the competent authorities to apply the disciplinary measures which would prevent a repetition of such events in the future.


In addition, recalling that the integrity of the country’s territory must be protected as a historic duty of all Nicaraguans, once the integrity of the national territory is secured, one must also recall that it is a right and a duty to protect the legitimate possession and enjoyment of the riches of the natural, traditional and cultural patrimony of the Indian peoples of the Atlantic coast, in whom we find and recognize with pride not only the ancestry of the race, but also the identity of our age-old, pre-Hispanic nationalities.


Having briefly put forward these facts that describe a situation where the dignity of the individual has not been respected and there has been a violation of their rights, as pastors, and in open solidarity with the Miskitos, Sumos and Ladinos of the Atlantic coast, we request that the competent authorities carry out an objective investigation and take the proper measures to promote peace and tranquility, by guaranteeing justice in the region.  


[ Table of Contents | Previous | Next ]

            [1]            MISURATA, derives its name from the first syllables of the names of the ethnic groups: Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Sandinista and the words Asla Takanka (which in the Miskito language means “united”), and in accordance with its broad outlines, defines itself as follows; “We are three groups of Indian peoples of the region that comprise a single monolithic unit of Indian brotherhood, which defends and upholds the Sandinista Revolution in our society”. In April of 1980, when membership on the Council of State was broadened, the Organization was granted a seat on that body. MISURASATA was dissolved by the government toward the end of 1981, however and most of the former leaders currently do no live in Nicaragua.

[2]            Nearly coinciding with the complaint of Misurasata, there appeared separately at the Secretariat of the Commission, Mr. Armstrong Wiggins, accompanied by staff members of the US organization, Indian Law Resource Center< and Mr. Steadman Fagoth, who appeared accompanied by Colonel Sam Dikens of the American Security Council. Both men indicated to the Executive Secretariat of the Commission the seriousness, in their opinion, of the events that took place at the end of December 1981 and on the early weeks of 1982. Since the Commission was to meet soon thereafter, they were invited by the Executive Secretary to testify directly before the Commission, which they did some days later.