An Important Nicaragua Update in this time of turmoil and unrest.
We need your financial support to stay viable in this crisis time and to move forward.
Many of you have reached out these last few weeks. Thank you for your concerns. It is very calm and peaceful and very empty in San Juan, everyone in our library community throughout Nicaragua is safe, but very anxious for the future and concerned economically.
 
Since April 18, Nicaragua has been in turmoil. A new harsher Social Security plan started the objections which quickly became much more about the oppression and years of misuse of power by Daniel Ortega when 30 peacefully protesting students were killed on that first weekend. The new Social Security plan was quickly dropped but the unrest grew to include most of the country with calls for the president and his wife to step down.  The Army has come forward to say they will not participate or repress protesters. That leaves the “Sandinista Youth” who are the one’s seen with sawed off mortars and hand-made fire bombs. They are aligned with Ortega. The protestors are armed with blue and white flags and determination to take back their country. 
 
It has been hard to know what to write and how to describe what has been happening. Initially because the news and the reporters and TV stations coverage was repressed, cameras confiscated and fake news being reported. So much social media attention and viral you tube footage has made keeping the truth oppressed impossible now. There have been periods of calm, and times of talks between the Ortega Government and protesters facilitated by the Catholic Church, There are peaceful road blocks all along the Pan American highway in various cities to demonstrate it cannot continue to be business as usual. There has been destruction by the Sandinista youth, mostly in Managua and Granada with stores and market places looted or burned.
 
On May 30th, Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, a massive march led by the mothers of young people killed during the violence on April 18 took to the streets of Managua and were violently attacked resulting in at least 18 deaths and 79 wounded when para-military forces aligned with Ortega opened fire. 

 
The threat the library, the HJH foundation and most of San Juan del Sur face is severe and economic. The American Embassy required all resident families to leave the country and requested that non-essential staff leave as well on April 22nd. No one has been cleared to return. The State Department has issued a level three warning “Reconsider Travel” to Nicaragua. 
 
Except for the lack of people on the streets in Sunny San Juan without all the social media information and Facebook one would think it was business as usual. Tours and groups and the usual summer season of service work have come to a complete halt.  Hotels and restaurants are closed and have laid off many workers as we are in our sixth week of this turmoil, country wide. 
 
Schools have been open in most cities and towns. The mobile library is being allowed to function everywhere. The library remains open and is functioning as a resource center. The Rotary school water and sanitation projects are still functioning but no celebrations or group meetings are allowed in schools for fear of crowds.  
We believe it is vital to keep the library open and be able to provide the mobile services, especially now during the instability and unrest facing Nicaragua. Without additional funds this will not be possible. The funds needed now are for basics: salaries, rent, electricity and vehicle fuel etc...
 
No international travel is happening and we are not able to host, plan or promote service group travel into the foreseeable future.  The HJH foundation’s areas of sustainability besides donations are nonexistent. Donations are really important right now and have always been our major means of support.  Please help. If you generally donate to the Program please do so now. If you haven’t thought to do so yet, this would be the moment!  We are trying to bring a Matching grant into play now but so far have not found a matching donor. Please contribute as though it were a matching grant. We are hopeful this will be the case

Please donate today with the PayPal or JustGiving buttons above OR by check made payable to:

HJH Programs
1716 Del Norte Ave.
Loveland, CO 80538 

We are registered as Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All.
A Note from Jane: I have believed in the need for libraries and literacy support for Nicaragua for over seventeen years. There has never been a time more important than now as Nicaragua struggles to reclaim it’s democracy, to provide and maintain a setting for discourse rather than violence and to provide  free access to the internet and unfiltered, unbiased information. The  American Library Association’s Democracy Statement puts this very well:  "Indeed, libraries ensure the freedom to read, to view, to speak and to participate. They are the cornerstone of democracy.Indeed, libraries ensure the freedom to read, to view, to speak and to participate. They are the cornerstone of democracy...Libraries are essential to the functioning of a democratic society...libraries are the great symbols of the freedom of the mind."  -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

The HJH Foundation staff and volunteers and are SJDS Biblioteca Movil y Publica Staff believe that all will be well and that Nicaragua will again persevere in the quest for freedom from oppression. We are determined to persevere as well and be part of that success. Thanks for being part of our support team! We ask for your financial support and your prayers. We know the tide will turn. There has never been so much solidarity and support for change and we believe clear heads will prevail.  We will send updates as circumstances change.



Warm regards,
Jane Mirandette,  
President Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All program

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