Blog Post #8

Throughout the semester we have had several guest speakers. They were all a pleasure to listen to, but one that I found the most inspirational was Karen Piper, who works in English and Environmental Studies. She was the most inspiration and most informative because she shed light on some serious issues that we may either not think about or was not aware of. She spoke to us about water on our planet. She stated some interesting facts as follows: the amount of water in the world is constant and has been the same since the start of time – which she referred to as ‘dinosaur water’ and seventy percent of our earth is water. After stating these facts, she led us into the topic of the current water crisis that is happening. The current water crisis consists of a variety of things including pollution, groundwater loss, and climate change. Climate change side effects include loss of glaciers, soil evaporation, loss of coastal aquifers, and jet streams becoming unstable. She then asked us how we imagine water. When I imagine water, I think of the common sink faucets and shower heads in my home. Many people think of similar things as well. We forget that water is involved in almost everything that we do evening fuel our vehicles or the planes we use to fly to various locations. Water goes beyond just washing our hands or dishes. It is essential to life on earth and I do not think many people take this as seriously as they should. Personally, before this class I was pretty unaware of the various types of crisis that is occurring in the world. I am thankful we had a speaker such as Karen Piper, to remind people like me, of a serious issue we could potentially solve in our lifetime so that our future generations do not have to suffer. After this lecture, I became more conscious when I am at home when it comes to not leaving my water running when I am not using it. In addition, I would catch myself leaving lights on when they could be off. Water is not the only thing, I believe, we should worry about. We should also be sustainable when it comes to food and energy as well.

After spending an entire semester on researching my country, it is safe to say I have gained a large amount of insight on the country of Nicaragua. After familiarizing myself with the basics of Nicaragua, I was very shocked as how I had no idea of the current affairs that have been going on in the country. Nicaragua is one of the largest countries in Central American and it consists of over six million people, most of which are native Spanish speakers, who also range widely of ethnic backgrounds. Nicaragua is contributing to the evolution of sign-language. In the United States, people have encountered sign-language or someone who uses it at least once, but how do people who are not in the United States and do not know English use it? This is where Nicaragua begins to amaze me. Located Mangua, Nicaragua there is a school for the deaf and the blind. Their teaching techniques are highly respected and deemed highly effective. As time went on, this institution became the goldmine for global research regarding the evolution of language, including signed. Although Nicaragua had made leaps of progression in education, unfortunately they are suffering from some environmental issues which lead to even more issues. Even though Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, it is actually the least populated. This leads to problems because due to their size they have the opportunity to enforce laws to protect their environment, but since it is least populated there are external forces that are using their land. This invasion leads to poverty. The native people are being robbed of their land, which for many is a source of income. Due to this, poverty is improving slim to none. This violation of environmental rights leads to the violation of human right. When you are tarnishing one’s environment, how do they survive? Due to this issue, sex trafficking is also an ongoing issue in the region. Victims are lured into trafficking with empty promises of a better life and/or receiving nice gifts they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own. Luckily, FINCA heavily operates in the region and is currently taking proper steps in attempt to bring Nicaragua out of poverty. They lend small, repayable loans to people in order to run a small business. This not only supplies financial stability, but creates jobs for some and brings insight on managing money for others. In addition, FINCA’s official headquarters are based in Washington, D.C.; therefore, they are able to utilize resources that Nicaragua might not have in order to further assist them.

Blog Post #7

Image result for human trafficking nicaragua

Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and worldwide alike. This is possible because the people that facilitate this form of slavery use violence methods to keep their victims under control. These victims often include adults and children from various backgrounds.

(https://polarisproject.org/sex-trafficking)

 

Sex trafficking, also known as sex slavery, is currently an issue in Nicaragua. Sex trafficking is a growing problem in this region and it is beginning to have social impact internally and externally. There are several societal factors that contribute to this problem. When people fall victim to sex trafficking it can happen a number of ways – coercion being one of them. Nicaragua’s poverty plays a huge role in this. According to statistics, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Poverty is a contributing factor in this case because due to how poor some people are; they seek things they do not have whether they are material or mental things. This is where coercion comes into play. Some of these victims are often promised a better, richer life or told they’re going to be loved and cherished for the rest of their lives, but this is simply coercion. Another contributing factor that ties all of this together is the fact that majority of the Nicaraguan population, about 64.3%, is under the age of thirty years old. About half of the teenage population is not pursing education; therefore, they easily fall victim to exploitation. These individuals – young or uneducated or poor or all of the above – are the ideal targets for traffickers and the number is so high that sex trafficking is not an easy problem to tackle. Another fact that contributes to all of this is that Nicaragua is one of the most popular transit routes for drugs due to its geographic location. The individuals that move these narcotics also coerce people – they coerce the poor people who reside on the routes in which they travel by offering them sums of money. Once the faces of these poor indigenous people are exposed, they become susceptible to human trafficking because traffickers will learn of their situation and begin devising ways to coerce them. Today UNICEF works closely with the region to minimize, and hopefully one day eliminate, the issue of sex trafficking. (http://en.unicef.org.ni/prensa/15/)

Image result for MDGs

The article Born Free talks about the Sustainable Development Goals that came into effect in 2016. Around the year 2000, the international development community started organizing themselves around accomplishing MDGs – also known as UN Millennium Development Goals. A lot of money has gone into these goals including campaigning. Although some may benefit from Millennium Development Goals, others do not. These set of goals have resulted in the exclusion of some major issues going on in the international community. Human trafficking is not addressed but any of the goals. In fact, it was stated that “we are not interested in trafficking” or “we do not work on trafficking” at various times. From the looks of it, organizations wanted to no parts in the trafficking issue. Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry. This may seem intimidating to outside groups who could potentially help at least minimize this issue. Is the problem too large in relation to these aid groups or is the potential consequences causing fear in the organization? It is no secret that those who solicit humans for profit use fear and intimidation to have control over their victims, but how could they potentially react to third parties attempting to interfere in their business? There are ways around this issue. In order to combat human trafficking, take away the factors that traffickers take advantage of when preying on villages or communities. Donor communities should use their funds to aid extreme poverty so that people do not feel the need to involve themselves in street activity in order to feed their families. Poverty has by far played the largest role in aiding traffickers in obtaining victims. They can also decrease HIV rates or improve maternal health. It would also be beneficial if these communities could recruit other organizations to help aid these potential methods of halting human trafficking. As time goes on, these poverty rates are rising and more people are not left with many options as far as income. Younger adults may get lured in because they are not financially wealthy and get provoked by a glamorous lifestyle then find out it is not so glamorous. I believe the issue of human trafficking needs to be brought to the attention of more countries – countries that are more financially stable and have adequate resources to help aid in the achievement of these goals. These problems should raise concern not only in the countries they occur in, but the surrounding countries as well. Neighbors should come together and help fight the disgusting human trafficking industry. (Born Free)

Blog Entry #6

linda

Linda Polman raises several concerns throughout her book. She opens with a quote from a humanitarian and founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Henri Dunant. He states, the humane desire to lighten a little the torments of all these poor wretches… creates a kind of energy which gives one a positive craving to relieve as many as one can. The first concern she raises is the exploitation of humanitarian aid. It is the responsibility of the humanitarian aid workers to relieve human suffering regardless of what parties are involved. The principal concern that is raised here is that you do what you can for the victims, but soldiers will exploit your efforts. You dig a well? They demand you pay a price in addition to tax. You want food flown in? Taxed. You want medical supplies sent to where you are? Taxed. When you get these resources flown in, they will take a portion of it to sell. They sell these in return for weapons. This essentially adds to your death toll. This is a never ending cycle. The reoccurring concern here is that is it worth saving lives while aiding terrorism? That is what humanitarian aid does. It involuntarily aids the very killers that are harming the patients they take care of. Some view that some help is better than no help although they are fueling the terror. Is sacrificing a few lives worth saving more live? Does one let a few people die in order to stop terrorist groups from being able to kill even more? This has been an issue for centuries.

Polman states, “aid organizations are businesses dressed up like Mother Teresa”. By this statements, she means that journalists do not look into the actions of aid organizations although they are the ones who report it. Journalists do not suspect foul play when it comes to non-profit organizations; therefore, they do not question them. If attention isn’t brought to these organizations, they can easily go astray from their goals and turn into something ugly that we may not be able to control. They are viewed as “saints” and uphold a certain level of respect from their surrounding communities. Polman states, “often the journalists reporting on an aid campaign are also financed or at least accommodated by the aid agencies taking part in the caravan”. This is also another reason as to why journalists do not question aid organizations. Would you investigate someone that accommodated you during a visit? The chances are slim.

red

In order to make humanitarian aid successful, the public, government, and journalists will play a crucial role. The goal here is to ask questions. By turning the other cheek to these aid organizations, you are giving them more power. If they are not questioned, they do not feel threatened per say and will carry on the activities they do behind the scenes. These parties must be bold with their questioning. Polman states, “if they say what they’re doing helps, ask who’s going to be helped by that food, by those medicines: innocent victims, warlords, or both?”. This type of questioning leads straight to the point and for anyone who witnesses such a conversation will have opened their eyes whether they admit it or not. They must ask where the line is drawn when it comes to supplies that are looted by attackers. At what point does an aid organization say that too much money and/or supplies are being taken into the wrong hands? In addition, a very important piece of information to uncover is to find out whether or not aid organizations are sufficiently independent when it comes to deciding who gets aid and who does not. As mentioned before, these aid organizations are dressed up like saints to the public eye. In reality, they are fueling these wars and many of them are seeking financial profit and not so much fulfilling the mission of providing adequate aid to those who have fallen victim to these wars. I stress the importance of raising the question of whether or not doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

This book was deemed the name crisis caravan for a reason. These caravans provide aid, but bring forth crisis because they do not only aid victims of war, but they unfortunately aid the attackers as well.

In conclusion, obtaining success when it comes to humanitarian aid is not impossible. The issue here is that people are easily swayed by little perks such as accommodations. Take a moment and look past the perks – what is really going on in front of our eyes? Certain aid organizations wear the mask of being helpful, but in reality they seek profit whether it is social or financial. They must be questioned and not looked past simply because they provide aid.

Blog Post #5

climate-change

­Climate change deals with a long-term change in the earth’s climate. This change is usually a result of an increase in atmospheric temperature. A familiar example is the fact that glaciers are melting in arctic areas where melting should not be occurring.

When you hear ‘human rights’, what words do you think of immediately? I think of words like responsibility and equality. A human right can be defined as a right that belongs justifiably to every person. Regardless of one’s nationality, where they may reside, gender, religion, and so on, we are all entitled to human right without argument.

These two things – climate change and human rights – are more closely related than we may think. One directly impacts the other in ways that may not cross our minds regularly.

deforest.jpg

It is no secret that Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but it is somehow the least populated as well. Due to their size they have the opportunity to enforce laws to protect their environment, but since it is least populated there are external forces that are using their land and deforestation is one of the main issues regarding this. One of the human rights is the right to life. Nicaraguans are being robbed of this right when companies come in and destroy their land. This land is used to supply not only food, but shelter as well. Without food or shelter, what quality of life does one have? These construction areas are also causing pollution, which essentially adds to the problem of climate change. We can now see how closely, yet again, human rights and climate change are interlinked. When they are being robbed of the right to food and shelter, they are being robbed the right to life. When they are being robbed the right to life, they are being robbed the right to have human right. The actions these construction companies are taking have an impact that reaches far beyond just simply cutting down trees.(http://www.fsdinternational.org/country/nicaragua/envissues)

Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey reflects on her travel experiences and the several encounters she had with wisdom keepers across the globe. She stresses the importance behind what our elders say and I feel that we should, as newer generations, hold true to our traditions. Times are evolving and we live in a highly globalized region; therefore, older customs and traditions are dying out. The importance of human rights has been brought to light more so in recent years, but have we lost our original ways? How did we lose our ways? Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey asks who is society to us to determine whether or not we are worthy depending on how we look or how much is in our bank accounts. This is where we have lost sight of our true human right and begin conforming to society. By conforming to society, we engage in business plots and often forget about the planet that we live on. Climate change is a direct result of our poor decisions. Our actions are finally reaping the consequences and we are slowly, but surely reminded how we have forgotten our ways and have become engulfed in the wrong things. She states, “it’s as though we are being sold a lifestyle, when what we want most is life”. Society has done a mind blowing job at making us feel like we may not be enough. This is their strategy. We buy products and services that make us feel the opposite. These are the very things that cause us temporary happiness while harming our planet and we do not think twice about it. We are the reason our very human rights are being tested because no one is responsible for climate change but us. Even now, since the issue has gained a lot more attention than in the past, there are still many people who either do not care what is happening or do not believe it is happening since they are not yet directly affected by it. Do people care about the quality of life their future generations will have or do they sleep well at night knowing they will not live long enough to see the traumatic effects take place? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrmZUqcVdow).

When Farish Noor refers to eurocentrism, he is referring to the tendency of individuals and cultures to view themselves as well as the environment around them from the perspective of their own culture, values, and beliefs. His main point that he makes is that Western domination of culture is now slowly globalizing. The west can be referred to as a melting pot, and in order for this region to succeed, it must adapt to the many different cultural backgrounds the people who reside in the area retain. Adapting to this sort of change is ideal in order for a nation of this stature to survive. Globalization of the west is a good, and very necessary, step towards progress.

 

Blog Post #4

Lately, people have been more aware of the earth and the life that inhabits it. For example, social media is being flooded now more than ever with pictures and videos of animal cruelty to raise awareness. Raw vegan diets are being promoted and climate crisis is being brought to the public’s attention. Why is that? Perhaps we are running thin on the luxury of acting carelessly and our planet is starting to suffer the consequences of human action.

The problem today is that although people may be aware of the consequences of their actions on the environment, they believe they will not be alive long enough to see what will be the end result. This is why so much damage has been done and is still occurring today. Climate change such as global warming is a real issue and we are starting to see how it currently effects the life many of us are alive to see today. What will this mean for our future generations? Do we care what happens to our future generations?

sad

I believe we have a moral obligation to protect the future of a planet in peril.  There is no such thing as a perfect world, but I believe if governments and businesses can put aside their hunger for profit and we come together as global community we can not only help those who are in danger, but also help the future generations to come. We can instill these same values in our future generations and keep this prosperous cycle going. Businesses will still be able to profit because by helping these people, in return they will get their support and loyalty. We do not take into consideration the harmful effects of global warming because we take for granted regions who possess colder climates. Sheila Watt-Cloutier raises the question, “Is it not because people have lost that connection between themselves and their neighbors, between their actions and the environment, that we are debating this issue of climate change in the first place? (p. 29). It is true the global community has lost its connection with one another, but it is also their responsibility to reestablish it.

nicforest

Although water.org isn’t involved in Nicaragua, that does not mean there aren’t current environmental issues that are occurring. Nicaragua is classified as the largest nation in Central American and has been deemed the nickname “the land of lakes and volcanoes”. Nicaragua is known for its rain forests, highlands, and fertile area where farming is often done. The economy is heavily based on agriculture because crops are grown for export. After reading these facts, you may not think Nicaragua experiences any land, resource, or environmental issues, but unfortunately that is not the case.

Deforestation is an ongoing issue in the region. Businesses are clearing trees in forests for non-environmental purposes. In addition, water pollution and soil erosion are also ongoing issues. The fishing industry has been heavily impacted due to water pollution; therefore, the economy will face its challenges. (http://www.countriesquest.com/central_america/nicaragua/land_and_resources/environmental_issues.htm)

Due to its size, Nicaragua has potential to administer laws that will protect and conserve their resources. Unfortunately, there are greater powers that are supporting deforestation, which essentially results in other issues such as pollution. The government is regulating the conversion of forests to land used for commercial purposes. This is resulting in a severe impact on the surrounding environment. The size of the region is being exploited and harmed at the same time.  As it was previously mentioned, Nicaragua is known as the “land of lakes and volcanoes”. This is misleading because safe drinking water is not as readily available as it may seem. If one does not have the funds to afford safe drinking water, then the poor people are facing health risks from consuming polluted water, which essentially is a result of deforestation. It is said that three-fourths of Nicaragua’s forest population has been struck down and converted into land. If neighboring regions such as Honduras can lend a helping hand in preservation efforts, Nicaragua still has hope for improvement.

Another issues that hasn’t had much light shed on it is the use of pesticides. Pesticide usage is common on plantations that harvest fruit and cotton that are eventually used for export. A very large disadvantage Nicaragua has faced after using pesticides is the numerous health problems among the people who were forced to work within these conditions. (http://www.fsdinternational.org/country/nicaragua/envissues)

Currently, there are several groups that work closely in the region to improve sustainability. These groups such as interns and volunteers do a large range of things such as develop sustainable agriculture programs that recover soil and water, assisting farmers who you pesticides to convert to organic methods, provide knowledge to younger generations about leading a sustainable lifestyle, and also promoting the use of organic products beyond farms and forests.

Post #3

NICARAGUA-PROTEST

Nationalism can be defined as a feeling that people experience of being loyal to the country they are from while retaining a high sense of pride and a firm belief in the fact that they are better than other countries. Nationalism can also be summed up as a loyalty and devotion to a nation (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nationalism).

Nationalism in Nicaragua can be defined from many different aspects. This country is no stranger to dictatorship, revolution, and civil war. When considering nationalism, one must take into consideration the roots of national identity. For starters, what are children being taught about their own country in school? When analyzing nationalism in Nicaragua, we must consider other factors as well including: history, racial makeup, ethnic makeup, customs, traditions, and as previously mentioned – education. What children are taught in school are the foundations of the image they begin to construct in their mind of their own country. Another factor to consider is the art that is displayed in the country. Artists, anywhere from architecture of buildings to the colors of homes, their productions also have an impact on nationalism that we may not immediately consider (https://www.bowdoin.edu/latin-american-studies/student-research/research-grants/student-projects/ChristopherRobleto-NarrativesOfNationalismInNicaragua.pdf).

Before the history of Nicaragua was so commonly taught in schools, the country’s nationalism was forged in its relationship with European powers and later on with the United States in a colonial manner. As time went on, the people of Nicaragua started putting their foot down and worked up the courage to create a revolution that consisted of a life free from colonial restraint. Their motivation behind such courage was the fact that they felt oppressed. Once they were able to overcome this colonial obstacle, they started to create an image of and for themselves which led to its present nationalism (https://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/colonialism-nationalism-liberation-movements/).

In his book, “The Post-American World”, Zakaria writes about the danger in the rise of nationalism. He states, “A further complication: when I write of the rise of nationalism, I am describing a broader phenomenon – the assertion of identity” (Zakaria, 41). He proceeds to discuss how nation-states are considered a newer concept, although the people that make up these nation-states practice traditions that trace back to very many years ago whether it is religious or linguistic. The issue doesn’t arise until we recognize the fact that these identities of these countries are the cores of what make up life as a whole. If these communities stay together, the amount of power they retain will increase. Zakaria brings to our attention the concept of sub-nationalism. This is where the danger of an increase in nationalism becomes present. He states, “The bottom line: it makes purposeful national action far more difficult” (Zakaria, 41). With this being said, he has made it clear that the rise of nationalism proposes danger because it is causing sub-nationalism to grow as well, which gives these countries the idea that central government is no longer a necessity.

In the past, Nicaragua has dealt with some conflicts among the nation-state and the people within the area. For the time period spanning from the early 1960s to late 1990s, there is documentation that a ‘crisis’ emerged between the central government of Nicaragua and an ethnic group identified as ‘indigenous peoples’. Nicaragua’s first real nation-state crisis occurred at the hands of a new power taking over the region. Their goal was to stimulate the flowering of local cultural values, which resulted in hostility among the different ethnic groups that resided in Nicaragua. The country is home to several ethnic groups and when an attempt is made to generalize the region, emotions will be drawn from certain people. The power that had taken control was considered to not even know much about the culture or tradition of the region, therefore causing more distress among the people of Nicaragua. Due to this, new organizations were founded by these indigenous people in attempt to fight this generalization the area they’ve grown to know so well in accordance to what the reigning power ‘thought’ Nicaragua was all about (http://cupola.gettysburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1024&context=poliscifac).

inequal

Although inequality is still a problem in Nicaragua, it has slightly declined as time went on. Poverty is also steadily decreasing. Inequality plays a crucial role in Nicaragua because it impacts land ownership among residents. Land ownership is known to be unevenly distributed, regardless of what type of reform is in action. The government has main control over what is being done on what land and their current policy focuses on land titling and land administration projects. Inequality is also an issue because when it comes to land, the current policies benefit the rich, but leave the poor with nothing because they are the ones who tend to lack proper documentation for their land. I feel that although inequality is slightly declining in my region, more action should be taken to put into effect more policies that do not result in the rich getting richer, while the poor remain poor. I consider this inhumane because not everyone has the same luxuries to further their income and everyone should be presented equal opportunity to do so. In the end, Nicaragua as a whole can benefit from this small investment. These issues are currently being addressed with attempts of passing new policies and an increase on detail to reports made as far as land conflicts (http://www.diis.dk/en/activity/inequality-in-nicaragua-land-titles-land-markets-and-tenure-security).

Post #2

The main language spoken in Nicaragua is Spanish.

 

A state language can be defined as the language that is legally given to a particular country, state, or region. In this instance, the state language can be recognized as Spanish.

 

Although the primary language in Nicaragua is Spanish, the country is home to several indigenous languages. English is also spoken in Nicaragua.

 

Those who may be familiar with Spanish know that Spanish-speaking countries often have their own version of Spanish. For example, the Spanish that is spoken in Spain differs from the Spanish that is spoken in Nicaragua. In this case, Nicaragua has their own version of Spanish, which is often referred to ask Nicanol, or “Nicaraguan Spanish”.

 

As far as indigenous languages, they are more common on the Caribbean coast. We can now take a deeper look into these languages. Miskito, Rama, and Sumo are spoken in Nicaragua to name a few. Nicaragua also consists of minority languages due to the several various ethnic groups that reside within the country.

 

A hot topic lately is how language affects sign language. Nicaragua has recently made advances in their sign language linguistics and Nicaraguan Sign Language is now recognized.

(http://www.nicaragua.com/languages/)

 

Indigenous languages in Nicaragua propose a slight problem when it comes to educational and research programs involving the various languages. The issue at hand is that there is a struggle to resolve a contradiction in the development of bringing fairness and equality to a diverse nation. Language rights have now become a thing and they were put in place in attempt to promote equality amongst the various ‘tribes’ who speak one or more of the indigenous languages previously mentioned. A step in the direction of progression includes language research and development programs. This will help integrate more languages into society, so that not one language becomes more powerful than another.

(https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/nicaragua/language-rights-nicaraguan-atlantic-coast)

 

Nicaragua is a member of the United Nations as of October 24, 1945.

(http://www.worldometers.info/united-nations/)

Nicaragua is a member of the IMF, which is the international monetary fund, as of March 14, 1946.

(https://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/memdir/memdate.htm)

 

Nicaragua is a member of the WTO, which is the world trade organization, as of September 3, 1995.

(https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/nicaragua_e.htm)