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Chinandega, Nicaragua - September 24

Cathleen travelled to Chinandega, a northwest pacific coastal state on the Honduras border, to meet with several organizations.  Chinandega is known for its vast peanut and cotton plantations as well as cattle ranches and increasingly, shrimp farms.  This state is also where Nicaraguans return after they have been picked up in Mexico on their way to the U.S.  A bus comes approximately twice a month to drop them at the border.  Reportedly, it is also known as a state with a high rate of human trafficking.  

Critics say Nicaragua is the least developed country in Central America with respect to a national migration policy in the region. The president, Daniel Ortega, denies that Nicaragua is a sending state, which complicates the promotion of pro-active measures to protect the migrants who depart regardless of national politics. There is no solid reintegration plan for returnees, nor a ministry, nor any other governmental body to advocate for the rights of Nicaraguans abroad (an entity that all other Central American countries can already count on).  That is likely one of the reasons data is hard to secure.  
 
Chinandega has several organizations two consider for the Defender Network, but two of them are closing down due to lack of funds.  The local union federation that has already been working with migrants to Costa Rica, and will be the likely Defender Network member in the state.

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