Estelí, Nicaragua - September 12

Estelí is the state just east of Chinandega and is another Honduras border state.  Estelí is a mountainous region home to coffee and tobacco, and is a source of migrants to Costa Rica and the U.S.  In 2004, a local network of organizations formed to address migration issues.  It was the local affiliate of the national Nicaraguan Civil Society Network for Migration (Red Nica). Founded in 2002, Red Nica at one point had over 40 organizations and individuals affiliated. Over the years, however, the network has transformed and now has approximately 10 members. Despite the lower numbers, it continues to have political significance and leads migration policy advocacy in Nicaragua.

There is quite a bit of activity occurring around migration in Estelí.  Over the course of various visits, Cathleen appeared on two local radio shows and one local television newscast to talk about migration and the work of Global Workers.  During her television appearance, she met a migrant who was blinded during the deportation process.  In 2008, he was in a detention center in New Mexico. One evening he went to the infirmary because his eyes were bothering him. They gave him eye drops that scorched his eyes when he applied it later.  Other detainees pleaded with the guards to send help, but they refused to do so since it was after hours and “there was no blood.”  The next day, his hair had turned white and he was totally blind.  Despite a subsequent operation he never recovered his eyesight.  He was eventually sent back to Nicaragua without ever obtaining an independent medical review or access to a lawyer.  Since his return in 2009, he has not received adequate help or medical attention to navigate the world blind. The reporter at the local television was appealing to the Nicaragua congress to provide him with a pension. Though the injury occurred long ago, Global Workers is evaluating the case for a referral to look in to the medical malpractice issue. 

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