THE MOTHERS OF THE HEROES AND MARTYRS
Since before the election of 1990, "The Mothers of the Heroes and Martyrs"
in Esteli has been a divided organization. Depending on with whom you speak
the divide is based on personalities, ideology, class, etc. The result of
this schism leaves a faction of the "Mothers" marginalized, outside
of the Gallery (their home base), and distant from the benefits derived
from the support from Internationals which is nearly always passed through
The Gallery, as in each city, maintains and presents the images of those
in the community who fought and died in the struggle against Samoza, and
the Contra war. It remembers and retells the events of the Sandanista Revolution
in human terms and human loss. It has also become a center from which "projects"
are initiated. One such project, located adjacent to the gallery, is the
"cafetin" - a place to sit, drink a soda or eat a fruit salad.
This provides a small income and employment for a few of the "Madres."
The "other" group, keeping the same name and asserting rights
to the Gallery and it's activities, was located on the square in a corner
room of the mayor's offices which opened out onto the square. At this location
a number of the women would meet daily, most often to make artificial flowers
which would be sold as center pieces or memorials to be placed at the cemeteries.
There was also soda available, but few passersby ventured in. For a brief
period of time this group of "Madres" attempted to start a small
store, to provide basic supplies such as toilet paper, beans, soap, etc.
Over a year ago this group lost it's meeting and work area to a renovation
project initiated by the mayor.
I have been working with both groups of "Madres" in Esteli, though
most of my material aid has been directed to the marginalized group (see
eventual essay on Impact of International Support). As of this writing I
am waiting to speak with a friend who just returned from Esteli to find
out the current situation and needs. As of my last letters with the "Madres,"
conditions were steadily deteriorating. I will be up dating this area soon.
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