COFFEE HARVEST - FEBRUARY 1987

"La Pintada"
About 3 miles North of Matagalpa, Nicaragua




We came together, students, teachers, professors, construction workers, lawyers, and art curators to show our solidarity with the revolutionary process, and to learn. Some were socialists, others were activists, both political and faith-based, and others questioning. We shared sleeping quarters, and we shared our thoughts, impressions and personal histories. We were like hundreds of groups who came to Nicaragua from not only the U.S. but from throughout the world to stand with the people of Nicaragua in their struggle and to stand against the forces of the oppression and war manifest through the policies of the U.S. government. During the time we were involved with the harvest at upe "La Pintada" we slept and worked along with solidarity groups from Brazil and France.

During the first night, just hours after our arrival, we needed to gather outside of our sleeping quarters to discuss the gunfire we could hear in the distance - the Contras were very close. When we returned to our sleeping quarters the Brazilians were playing their guitars and singing - the tension was soon released.

The evening before we left Nicaragua we were at a resturant in Managua where we discussed our experiences with each other and with others present that night in the restaurant - one of those there was a long-term solidarity worker, Ben Linder. It would be just two months later when we would hear that Linder had become a martyr of the revolution - assassinated by the Contras - while working on a water project in the North of Nicaragua - and then vilified by the U.S. Congress.


...


We not only picked coffee, but, since this was an experience to gain insight and information about the nature of the revolutionary process, we also had numerous meetings with members of the Sandanista government, as well as cultural workers and unions.

We also participated in the weekly demonstrations in front of the U.S. Embassy in Managua and prepared for a major demonstration which was to take place in Washington, D.C. on 25 April 1987, soon after our return to the U.S.


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