After long thoughtful discussions the Sister Island Board decided at the end of May that the 2018 Student Delegation will not travel to Ometepe in June as planned because of the uncertainty about travel and political stability in the country.
The board did vote that if calm returned to Nicaragua, there is a possibility of the delegation going in August, however as talks have broken down, and violence has resumed, that likelihood is slim. July 4th will be a deadline for making that decision.
Although this decision is obviously very disappointing to the 16 dedicated student delegates who have been working since November to prepare for their trip, many have already expressed their interest in being part of a delegation in 2019. The Student Delegation Committee hopes that this group is able to make their trip a reality next year. The students will be working on letters to their host families, which will be sent by email to the office and delivered to the families in TIchana, San Jose del Norte, and San Jose del Sur.
These host families are also very disappointed that their visitors will not be coming in June, but they understand our caution. The projects that the communities had hoped to share with the student delegation are still being funded by BOSIA, and work will begin on them as soon as possible.
Even though Ometepe has seen less unrest than other parts of Nicaragua, it is still affected by food and fuel shortages, blockades and a complete halt in the flow of tourists which is hurting Ometepe’s economy.
In Nicaragua, over 120 people – mostly unarmed young people — have been killed by government-supported forces and over 1,000 wounded. According to CNN, Amnesty International reported that some of the “disappeared” whose bodies were later recovered showed signs of torture. Efforts at mediation between government and opposition groups have broken down. Some of our friends on Ometepe talk about fear of a civil war.
Sister Islands’ new office volunteer, Signe Lindquist, will not travel down at the end of July as planned, but will instead evaluate the political stability in August and make a decision then.
Here is a link to a recent article in The Atlantic regarding the current situation: