Describing itself as “a U.S. national network of 200 local sister city, solidarity, fair trade, and environmental justice groups,” the Nicaragua Network (NN) — originally known as the as the National Network in Solidarity with the People of Nicaragua – is a lobbying organization that was established in February 1979 “to support the popular struggle to overthrow the 45-year U.S.-supported Somoza family dictatorship [in Nicaragua], and … to support the efforts of the [Marxist] Sandinista Revolution to provide a better life for the nation’s people.” Professing devotion to “social and economic justice for Nicaragua, Latin America and the world,” NN’s mission is to advocate for “sound U.S. foreign policies that respect human rights and international law,” and to “provid[e] information and organizing tools to solidarity, sister city, and peace and justice activists” across the U.S. and worldwide.
NN is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice and has strong working ties with the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. & Canada. At one time, NN’s Washington, DC branch shared its office space with the Mexico Solidarity Network and shared the same street address with International ANSWER. Moreover, NN was a member of ANSWER’s steering committee.
Today NN is a member group of SUSTAIN, a coalition that campaigns against U.S. military and economic aid to Israel. In an April 2002 anti-war demonstration in the District of Columbia, NN members marched as part of an anti-Israel contingent organized by SUSTAIN. Also participating in the rally were members of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, the DC Green Party, the International Socialist Organization, and Queers for Racial and Economic Justice. Guest speakers took turns emphasizing that as a result of America’s war on terrorism, democratic rights were being eroded, hundreds of immigrants were being incarcerated without cause, racial profiling against nonwhites was spiraling out of control, and corporate interests were trying to exploit the recent 9/11 attacks for financial gain. Among those to address the crowd were Daniel Berrigan, Michael Ratner, Al Sharpton, and Hussein Ibish (of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee). The National Lawyers Guild and the DC Justice & Solidarity Collective provided legal representation for those who were arrested at the march.
In an effort to disseminate its views as widely as possible, NN publishes the English-language weekly Nicaragua News Bulletin as well as occasional monographs. Moreover, the Network organizes speaking tours of Nicaraguans in the U.S. and study tours to Nicaragua. NN’s more noteworthy activist campaigns over the years have included: opposing water privatization; supporting debt cancellation for Nicaragua and other poor countries; demanding radical changes to International Monetary Fund/World Bank measures; condemning both the World Food Program and USAID for using genetically-modified foods and seeds in their emergency-relief programs in Nicaragua; promoting health care for sugar-cane workers; demanding benefits for unemployed coffee workers and banana workers; organizing laborers in Free Trade Zones; protecting the “land rights” of Nicaragua’s “indigenous peoples” against incursions by “invaders” in the agriculture, mining, and logging industries; supporting the efforts of Nicaraguan environmental organizations; forming alliances with U.S.-based environmental groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club; and condemning alleged U.S. involvement in Nicaraguan political elections.
* NOTE: The Nicaragua Network should not be confused with the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York (NSNGNY), which was formed by a number of New York groups and was active from 1983-2002. NSNGNY’s records are archived in the Tamiment Library at New York University.