COFFEE HARVEST - FEBRUARY 1987
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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