Nicaragua’s tumultuous political history reflects the dramatic impacts that differing perspectives on property rights and resource governance can have on the structure and performance of societies and economies. The Somoza regimes that governed Nicaragua from 1936 to 1979 emphasized the primacy of private property rights and the pursuit of an export market-oriented, large-scale commercial agriculture. These policies resulted in an economy in which rural land ownership was concentrated in the hands of relatively few Nicaraguans who operated farms producing coffee, cotton, sugar, tobacco, and beef for export, largely to the United States.
Indigenous communities in Nicaragua are facing violence and displacement, but agroecology is helping empower the Miskito people.
What do you do when your access to rivers, sacred sites, and forests, is cut off, especially when your whole identity has grown from a spiritual connection to nature?
Myrna Cunningham is the first Miskitu woman to study at a university. In 1973, she received a degree in medicine and returned to her home region in the isolated northeast of Nicaragua, where she was born in a small village surrounded by lush forest. Working as a surgeon, she served in more than one hundred remote villages.
Residents of the northern highlands of Nicaragua were typically overlooked by modern infrastructure development. The Association of Rural Development Workers has changed this, securing access to electricity and clean drinking water for local people for the first time.