Thursday, February 18, 2010

"We Nicaraguans live for Politics"

At about 2 pm Senor Daniel drove us to the home of Evertz Carcamo Narvaez(pictured above). This man is a Deputy in the National Assembly for the National Sandinista Liberation Front. He also happens to own one of the few Nicaraguan owned television stations, Canal 41. This was my first interview and I was terrified through most of it, it didn't help that I was ignored for a brief time either. He was working on some stuff for the channel and who was I to interrupt that? We actually had to wait around for this man for over an hour because by the time we arrived he was on his way out to lunch and he hadn't eaten at all during the day. So, I spent that time talking politics with Daniel and my mother.

After the first interview Daniel called a friend of his over at the National Theater "Ruben Dario" who ran the Public Relations department. After a 20 minute interview with her she showed us around the National Theater. Turns out the theater was one of the few buildings to survive the 1972 Earthquake that destroyed most of Managua. The theater was beautiful and had many statues and busts of the legendary Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario side by side with images of Augusto C. Sandino, the hero who helped rid Nicaragua of U.S. Marines in 1932. She also told me the story of the three huge chandeliers inside the theater: one was donated by the Spanish in 1972 (a couple of months before the Earthquake) and then Nicaragua bought the other two. When the earthquake occurred all of the crystals fell to the ground from the chandeliers but the structures themselves stayed up. Afterwards all of the tiny crystals were picked up and placed back onto the chandeliers and so that's how they stand today.

It just so happens that at the same time we were there the contests for this year's Miss Nicaragua pageant were practicing upstairs. I didn't have my camera at this point, Senor Daniel did, and he seems to have caught some pictures of can even see the chandelier.

After the interviews we went on a crash course in sight seeing. We went to the Plaza of the Revolution where the National Palace and the National Cathedral stood; now the Palace is a museum and the Cathedral stands shattered from the Earthquake and now the home to dozens of "vagabonds" as the National Police describe them. It's several barrios that have sprung up behind the Cathedral where much poorer populations live. As we approached the Cathedral a National Police guard told us, "If you go past the statue of Sandino (which would begin to take us behind the Cathedral) I can't follow you." So we were only allowed to go so far. I managed to take a ton of photos of the place though.

We then went to see the areas of Managua that were left to ruin after the Earthquake, and it is disheartening how many Nicaraguans still live in poverty, massive poverty. It sickens me seeing my people live in a country where the channels don't belong to them, where foreign corporations squash local enterprises, and where SOO many of them are hired to protect the WEALTH OF OTHERS. You can tell when you are somewhere with money because then the houses are protected with walls and barbed wire. These are signs of a country opened up to the "hand of the market" and the subsequent cultural homicide that comes with unregulated Globalization. We passed at least 3 movie theaters today, and I saw NO NICARAGUAN MADE MOVIES being played at ANY of them. However, they were showing "Valentine's Day," that damn father movie with Travolta and Robin Williams, and they were still showing that damn movie Couple's Retreat. Now I understand why China and Canada require a certain amount of entertainment to be made within their countries.

After we made a couple stops I was only to snap pictures from the car as night fell and it wasn't exactly safe outside anymore. I did manage to get yelled at by the Army, though. As we drove by a military installation I managed to take a picture of the front gates and was yelled at and had guns shaken at me. The people in my car said that wasn't a good idea, I asked "Why not, what're they going to do?" and my mother responds, "Shoot you." It's a very different culture here. This brings me to the quote I used, it was from the Director of Public Relations I interviewed and I believe she is right.

Tomorrow I have interviews with a union leader, another Deputy in the N.A. who happens to be the leader of the Women's Caucus, and then in the afternoon I am headed to Leon. The birthplace of my family.


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