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Monday, April 20, 2015

Los Derechos de los Animales

Ley 747
Los animales llegaron hasta con ropa formal! Foto Jeffrey McCrary.
Animales en Nicaragua
Marchando para reglamentar la Ley 747. Photo Wendy Pavón
El ser humano es capaz de lindas bondades, actos de amor y entrega. Pero a su vez, podemos ser indiferentes o hasta crueles, muchas veces sin reconocerlo. Vivimos en un mundo donde gente mata con justificaciones como "guerra" y luego expresamos cariño a nuestros queridos, familia, y hasta las mascotas. En este sentido, no debe sorprender a uno que nuestra manera de ver a los animales como seres con derechos absolutos que tenemos que respetar es algo nuevo. 


Ley 747
Se realizó la marcha con el apoyo de la Policía Nacional. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

rescate animal
Los animales llegaron para exigir la Ley 747 reglamentada.
Como muchos otros paises, Nicaragua se encuentra en una discusión sobre cómo reconocer los derechos de los animales en nuestro entorno. Al inicio, luchar a favor de los animales parece una causa quixótica. En las ciudades, y en los pueblos, se ven perros en las calles con sarna, sin cuido, sin suficiente alimento, sin cariño y cuido de ningún ser humano. Muchas veces, estos perros tienen dueños, pero se considera apropiado mantener un perro en un estado miserable, casi siempre alegando falta de recursos. Lo mismo pasa con caballos. En ambos casos, cuando no son útiles o convenientes a sus dueños, son abandonados en la calle, para buscar como defenderse en una situación que no permite que no prosperen.
ley 747
Hasta los gallos marcharon! Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
animales en Nicaragua
El entrañable Scooby llegó, también. Foto Wendy Pavón.
Hay otras áreas en las cuales hay conflictos sobre los derechos de los animales. Sigue en alto el deporte de pelea de gallos. Es un deporte de todos los domingos entre todo el interior del país, a pesar de que es nada más ni menos que una imposición cruel sobre dos animales. 
ley 747
Pancartas pasaron los mensajes durante la marcha. Foto Jeffrey McCrary.
Otro serio problema en Nicaragua es la mezcla de los deseos de tener una mascota con la abundante vida silvestre alrededor. Frecuentemente, vemos monos, felinos, lapas, y otros animales que no son aptos para cautiverio, que fueron cazados y capturados del bosque para vender. Y lo más sorprendente y decepcionante es que hay personas que compran esos animales, pensando que pueden darles lo que realmente no se puede dar a un animal silvestre en una jaula. Cada animal silvestre debe vivir y morir en el bosque, no en una jaula. Estas y otras razones son las causas que nos motivan a promover una ley efectiva para proteger a los animales domesticados igual como los animales no domesticados. Hasta los circos tienen animales silvestres en exhibicion

ley 747
De toda edad llegaron para reclamar por los derechos de los animales. Foto Jeffrey McCrary.
El recientemente aprobada Ley 747 ha sido un avance sustantivo en la materia de la defensa de los animales. Sin embargo, hasta la fecha, no se ha emitido un reglamento para la ley, lo que significaría las indicaciones para sanciones en casos de violaciones de la ley. Sin reglamento, la ley lleva mucho menos poder, porque es de menos utilidad cuando se toca llamar a las autoridades para resolver a un abuso. 


ley 747
Los animales y sus amigos se tomaron la Carretera a Masaya. Foto Jeffrey McCrary.
La existencia de la Ley 747 sin reglamentación ha ayudado a dar publicidad sobre la criminalidad de los actos que perjudican a animales innecesariamente, y ha hecho muchos cambios en las actitudes de las personas en la sociedad. Las actitudes sobre el control de fertilidad de los perros, por ejemplo, han cambiado mucho recientemente. Otra señal es que un circo se presentó en Nicaragua sin animales en su espectáculo, por primera vez. 
Nicaragua sin maltrato animal
Todos con ropa que lleva mensaje de la Ley 747. Foto Alejandra Zeledón.

Pero la evidencia mayor de cambios en las actitudes se están dando, es el gran número de personas que sumaron a la Marcha por los Animales el pasado 18 de abril 2015. Cientos de personas, con perros, hasta conejos, cobayos y gallos! Con pancartas y mantas, reclamando por la reglamentación de la Ley 747. Aunque no fuera cubierta por los medios nacionales, la marcha recibió atención de la prensa internacional en Europa (Euronews). 
ley 747
Perros y personas, descansando en el Parque Cuba, después de la marcha. Foto Marvis Espinoza Smith.
Ayude a estos animales, sumando fuerzas con los grupos que ya existen, dando apoyo mutuo y compartiendo el trabajo. Si se siente con poco tiempo para ayudar, regale una bolsa de comida, una fruta (para los animales que las comen como lapas), etc. Te necesitamos!

FUNDECI/GAIA

Monday, March 16, 2015

International Working Women's Day, 2015

Nicaragua has recently received some good news. In the recently published 2014 Global Gender Gap by the World Economic Forum, Nicaragua scored in sixth place. To score more highly than most of the 142 countries in the analysis implies an idyllic situation for women in Nicaragua. The members of most women's advocacy organizations in Nicaragua, however, remain highly critical of gender progress in Nicaragua. Violent oppression of women in the household is still common, for instance. Also, women are often the sole providers and caregivers to children. Another issue which has divided Nicaraguans dramatically is access to abortion for medical reasons.

Nonetheless, a strong law promoting the freedom of women from gender violence has recently been implemented in Nicaragua. Ley 779 (Law number 779) represents a huge advance in the protection of women from violence. Now, for instance, the police are required to arrest suspects of family violence in some circumstances. Many people have argued that such strident measures are needed because of deep-rooted cultural conditions which encourage gender violence and discourage women from defending themselves from it.



The World Economic Forum ranking relies mostly on indicators of economic, educational, and political access. While in some of these measures, Nicaragua scores poorly, gendered access to education is relatively high. Even more interesting is the extremely high number of women in the National Assembly and in the Presidential Cabinet. Other factors such as levels of domestic violence were not considered in this survey. It would definitely be a mistake to consider Nicaragua a paradise for gender equality, based on this report. In fact, a dramatic symptom of the limited applicability of the report is that Rwanda occupied seventh rank, just behind Nicasragua. Everyone knows that extreme poverty oppresses all, inescapably. Nonetheless, the score tells us plainly that Nicaragua is doing some things right.

Many gender issues are difficult to alter, because insidious social structures reinforce them. Somehow, however, women have figured largely in the modern history of Nicaragua unlike in any other country in the region. Before the Nicaraguan Revolution, women participated prominently in professions and politics, and working class women were the backbone of the economy then. The Sandinista rebels that overthrew the Somoza dynasty included heroic examples of women fighting. And, some dramatic changes during the first Sandinista government widened access to political power to women, including some cabinet-level positions. Later, Nicaragua was led by the first female president in the hemisphere, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. And now, some political parties insist on 50% inclusion of women at every level in the party structure, including the FSLN, currently in the majority in government.

Without a doubt, the Nicaraguan woman is well-known as hard-working and dedicated to her family, and capable of operating a household often without depending upon a man. The subtle particularities of similarities and differences among the gender aspects of the societies in the region are very interesting, but what emerges most prominently, is that women still face many difficulties, especially regarding sexual and gender violence. There is still plenty to do in Nicaragua, but we can also reflect upon and appreciate the gains that have been made through the years, and salute all women in their cause to equity.








Saturday, December 13, 2014

Big Cola en Managua III

Aunque varios cambios han surgido en la planta embotelladora BIG COLA en Managua, hasta más preguntas que respuesta tenemos. Como se encuentra documentado, esta planta, ubicada en el borde de un cauce en el Barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, ha producido grandes cantidades de contaminación en diferentes formas, afectando a la calidad de vida de las personas que viven en la residencial al lado, y también al Lago Xolotlán.
Piensa en Grande? o Contamina en Grande?
FUNDECI y los miembros del Barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro han planteado una serie de quejas ante la Alcaldía de Managua, MINSA, y MARENA. Se ha constado que la emisión de ruidos excede a las normas establecidas por la ley en Nicaragua, afectando directamente a los pobladores quienes viven día y noche recibiendo altos niveles de sonido. 

Durante la revisión de esta planta, sus permisos de expansión no fueron concedidos tal como la empresa embotelladora pidió. No nos interesa que la BIG COLA se cierre, ni que se estanque. Nicaragua quiere inversión desde negocios internacionales, pero queremos inversión limpia, sin torcer al sistema ni contaminar al país. Nicaragua necesita de inversión y empleo, pero de inversionistas comprometidos con el país y su gente. Este punto le cuesta a la empresa Grupo AJE entender.  
La planta embotelladora BIG COLA (Grupo AJE) adorna al Barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro con rótulos dando propaganda a sus productos.  
Los dueños de la Big Cola, Grupo AJE, han respondido a los denuncios de contaminación y ruidos en una forma tergiversada. Primero, a pesar de confesar haber botado grandes volúmenes de contaminantes al cauce que se dirige directamente al Lago Xolotlán, la empresa sigue intentando confundir con fechas equivocadas y falta de transparencia ante el gobierno y la comunidad donde la planta está ubicada. Segundo, en vez de dar respuestas claras de compromiso con los vecinos, aparecen varias personas a reuniones públicas alegando vivir en el Barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, hasta una mujer se declaró funcionaria de la alcaldía de Managua y no era cierto! Claramente, la empresa prefiere resolver sus problemas con el uso de rótulos de propaganda, en vez de hacer alianza con sus propios vecinos.
Los pobladores que se quejan de los sonidos y contaminación de la planta embolletadora BIG COLA, y la empresa Grupo AJE responde con carteles grandes de sus productos dirigidos al vecindario.

Los vecinos de la planta BIG COLA no quieren ver rótulos de los productos del Grupo AJE, quieren paz y vida libre de contaminación. Nadie quiere que la planta BIG COLA se cierre, pero Nicaragua necesita buenos inversionistas con intenciones de identificarse con la gente y apoyar a que el país sea cada día mejor. Una empresa debe participar en la vida de su propia comunidad y sus trabajadores. Evidentemente, la empresa Grupo AJE está acostumbrada a resolver sus problemas sin reconocer a sus errores y colaborar con su comunidad. Gracias a ellos, se han dado varios despidos dentro de instancias de MARENA. El pueblo de Nicaragua no es tan fácil como están acostumbrados en los otros países donde trabajan.
Ver propagandas como estas no nos resuelve los problemas que trae la planta embotelladora BIG COLA al Barrio Pedro Joaquín Chamorro en Managua.
Aquí presentamos una carta que supuestamente explica y justifica los vertidos de parte de la empresa Grupo AJE. Por supuesto, la empresa trata de deslindar responsabilidad, asignando los videos a fechas que no eran, y quedaron en plena evidencia ante el gobierno y los vecinos. 
Big Cola

Si tu te sientas ofendido también por la actuación del Grupo AJE, súmate a la página de facebook, Pobladores Ofendidos y expresa tu opinión. Piensa en Grande y exige un país libre de abusos ambientales!
Big Cola Nicaragua
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Learning Spanish online via SKYPE

People live closer together today than ever before. We are living an age of communication beyond our dreams of not so long ago. Two people can be connected in real time, in voice and image, regardless of the geographical distance between them.


online Spanish

Learning to communicate in Spanish is a long process. Even the best students grow from one stage of language skills to another. No one just wakes up speaking Spanish. It takes practice, guidance and discipline Not just anyone can go to a country like Nicaragua to study the Spanish language.

On the other hand, those famous CD language sets almost never serve as more than a minor factor in real language acquisition. The very nature of learning a language requires engaging another person for substantial progress.

If you can't just spend a month or two in intensive Spanish training in foreign country, there are still options available. Face-to-face contact in real time via Skype has made our planet smaller than ever. Today, you can have online Spanish classes in the comfort of your home, sharing and learning accompanied by a teacher as far away as Nicaragua.

online Spanish

Of course, there are a lot of advantages to study of Spanish inside a Spanish-speaking country. There, you can accompany your hours of direct contact in the classroom with the "chatter" that keeps your brain operating in the local language. This advantage in particular accelerates the learning process, given of course that the Spanish student not seclude him/her self among other foreigners after class! 

skype

A Spanish course to improve your language skills can be done without traveling. We can provide Spanish language classes via Skype for you, wherever you are. You can get some high-quality instruction to accelerate your rate of language acquisition, without the cost of travel. Extra hours of learning can complement a trip to Latin America without adding the greater cost of additional days of travel. 

Spanish school
Write us if you would like to take some Spanish classes via Skype (TM). We would be happy to provide them for you! 
Skype

Spanish classes
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

More from The Mountain School

Matagalpa is still known as a remote area. The drive from Managua to the city of Matagalpa once took four hours over a road with lots of dangerous potholes. Today, a smooth ride lasting two hours over well-paved roads gets you to there. The city is bustling, an overgrown mini-metropolis overfilling a tight valley between ridges. And on all sides, there is coffee.

Nicaragua
The Welcome Wagon is awaiting your visit to The Mountain School. 
A visit to The Mountain School can bring the rural areas surrounding Matagalpa to life for a visitor. Here, the landscape remains green year-round, and temperatures are never blasting as in Managua and most of the southern part of Nicaragua. The streams are always running with water, sometimes overflowing. The Mountain School is located about 12 kilometers outside Matagalpa, on the highway to La Dalia.
Matagalpa
Happy birthday at The Mountain School.
In this idyllic setting, The Mountain School works with a coffee farm, its workers, and the local community. Groups are welcome to come and visit, tour the farm, and learn with us. Groups are welcome, and we can provide Spanish classes, seminars and volunteer programs for you. You can receive instruction from some of the best Nicaragua Spanish school teachers, while learning about coffee production and rural life in Nicaragua.

Spanish school
The rancho at The Mountain School is a great place to start the day.
We can host groups of up to thirty individuals at The Mountain School, in rustic, ecologically compatible accommodations, constructed from bamboo, wood and adobe, with simple, country meals prepared in the coffee farm kitchen, using coffee husks and bio-gas for fuel. The ecologically integrated structures are used by visitors and long-term employees of the coffee farm.

Nicaragua Spanish School
This group of volunteers decorated space and helped with tending students in the after-school library.
If you would like to bring a group to The Mountain School, we can arrange your stay and include activities as well. Please write us at apoyo@gaianicaragua.org for more information.
Coffee picking!

Nicaragua
Any visit to the largest coffee producer in Matagalpa is not complete without an introduction to coffee tasting.

coffee farm
Which coffee tastes best?
The Mountain School
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cichlids of Laguna de Apoyo by Willem Heijns

People are always asking what is to see in Laguna de Apoyo during a SCUBA dive. Lots of folks have Open Water certifications these days, but most of them have only dived in tropical oceans, over coral reefs where brightly colored fish dazzle. Tropical coral reefs are indeed among the best eye candy on the planet. But people are intrigued when they learn that we SCUBA dive in tropical lakes when the ocean is so close. It's obvious to them that something very attractive must be going on down there to keep our attention, with coral reefs just a couple of hours away.

We at FUNDECI/GAIA study the fish in this lake and in other freshwater locations in Nicaragua. Lake Apoyo has clear, warm water (28 degrees C) which makes it easy to view the fish underwater. Our divers have been collecting data on the fishes of Lake Apoyo for years, learning about the differences between very recently evolved species and even documenting the species themselves. Over the years, other research groups have also become interested in the cichlid fishes of Lake Apoyo and neighboring lakes, especially the group headed by Axel Meyer of the University of Konstanz.


The fish of the Midas cichlid group are definitely the main attraction in Laguna de Apoyo. Since the lake was formed some 23,000 years ago, the lake has been colonized by a few species of fish, but the dearth of species in the lake has left numerous, broad niches available for specialization in feeding, refuge behavior, and nesting activity. The Midas cichlids in the lake have undergone a remarkable evolution, dividing into numerous species. Six species from this group which are only found in Laguna de Apoyo are now accepted in the scientific community. Publications which present these six species can be found here, here, and here. These cichlids are terribly similar, but they do not interbreed, and they even use different timing and locations for nesting in the lake

The video presented above, produced by Willem Heijns, is among the best quality of videos showing some of these species in their natural habitat. We hope you enjoy seeing this video. 


contact us

Lake Apoyo
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