“Comercio Justo” revives Nicaraguan Co-op’s
For us not a great year, 1979, was the year the Nicaraguan Sandinistas overthrew the brutal Somoza gangster capitalist dictatorship. The Somoza family helped themselves to the nations resources – even the manhole covers in the capital
Next month at Latin America 2010 the grandson of the legendary Sandino, Walter Castillo Sandino will speak about his grandfathers’ legacy. Walter and his wife Marbely have written a biography of Augusto and of his importance in the struggle to build Latin American unity.
One policy of the modern Sandinistas was land reform. The transfer of land to the campesinos helped create the modern Nicaraguan co-operative movement. Land reform was not well received in
Worn down from the struggle against the Contras, in 1990, the people elected a right wing coalition lead by Violeta Chamorro which put the country’s farmers under enormous strain. A new wave of co-operative formation occurred in defence of the land the campesinos had gained and to improve access to markets and credit.
In the dark days after the end of the International Coffee agreement which caused the collapse of six banks in
The success, of the co-operative fair-trade sector, did not go un-noticed. After ignoring fair trade for a decade the likes of Nestle, Starbucks, McDonalds and even Walmart decided that if they could not beat it they would join it but for most of them this was a marketing ploy rather than a fundamental change in ideology. The farmers found themselves back in the same set of abusive relationships that had driven them to form co-op’s and take up fair trade in the first place. Fortunately in 2007, the Sandinistas where returned to power just in time to take advantage of a new force in Latin American trade – the “Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra America” – ALBA.
ALBA was formed in reaction to the
ALBA is committed to “Comercio Justo” or fair trade as well as food security and empowerment. Support is given to small producers of, rice, beans, maize and to raise cattle for the local markets with any surplus being available for export to other ALBA countries.
The result was an increase in both the quantity and quality of products as diverse as milk, chicken, bananas and coffee. As the co-operative sector is 70% of
There can be no doubt that the legendary Sandino would approve of this initiative which is liberating the people of
For more information on Latin America 2010 visit: www.latinamericaconference.org