June 6, 2019
How is AMOS doing in Nicaragua? A year after the beginning of the socio-political crisis
We want to affirm that AMOS has chosen to remain actively neutral in the midst of the ongoing crisis here in Nicaragua. In the midst of any crisis, the poorest and most vulnerable people are the most affected. We are here to stay. We are here to serve. For this reason, we ask that you please be sensitive if posting about the conflict on social media.
A year after the beginning of the socio political crisis in Nicaragua, economic hardship is felt by many. Tourism related businesses have not recovered yet after the devastation of the crisis in 2018. Some tourists are coming to Nicaragua in spite of the level 3 travel advisory put out by the US State Department. Taxes have gone up, unemployment is high, prices of food and other basic household items have increased, and banks are limiting access to loans for the people. This is affecting rural farmers’ and families’ ability to put enough food on their tables. According to some economists and experts studying the current economic trends, in 2019, Nicaragua is possibly headed for its worst economic crisis in the last 30 years. One source (The Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development,FUNIDES) estimated that 400,000 Nicaraguans lost their jobs since the crisis began. An estimated 30% of the population (2 million people) will be living in poverty in 2019 ($1.79 or less per day), with an additional 21% of the population (1.4 million people) considered vulnerable to falling into poverty.
We have heard from our health promoters that travel to the cities for patients who need care by physicians or laboratory tests is more expensive, as the price of fuel has gone up. Some have told us that there are fewer medicines available at their nearest government health clinics and that medications at private pharmacies are more expensive. The demand for medications and care at our AMOS clinics has increased by approximately 9% just in the first quarter compared to 2018. This represents a challenge for AMOS but also an opportunity for serving our communities and their neighboring communities during a time of greater need.
Hope for Peace
April 18th marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the crisis in Nicaragua. Thursday, May 30th, Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, was also the one-year anniversary of a significant march in 2018 that ended in deadly violence. Negotiations between the opposition and the government have resumed since February. The government has affirmed their commitment to working towards a national understanding and published an official work plan for establishing peace which includes the formation of local peace commissions around the country. In addition to the release of many prisoners, the government has committed to working with the Organization of American States to institute reforms to the electoral system ahead of 2021 presidential elections, guarantee the right to freedom of assembly, and continue to call for sanctions harmful to the Nicaraguan economy and people to be dropped. National and international organizations have expressed the follow-through on the Nicaraguan government agreement to release prisoners by June 18th will be key to future negotiations for peace.
Thank You for Your Support
The effects of the 2018 crisis on the Nicaraguan people have been devastating and ongoing. Poor families across the country are finding it harder to get the food, health care, and medications they need. Your support has never been more important to our communities. This year, you are helping us work to keep reaching out to our communities to make sure every mom and child is cared for. You are helping us diversify and increase the stock of medications in each community. And you are making sure that even the most vulnerable have access to the health services, food and medicines they need.
In general, the country has been calm for months and tourists and visitors have been able to come and go after traveling within the country without any problems. Since January, six groups have traveled down to work with AMOS on special projects, and we are gearing up to host our Global Health Practicum course and internship program in June and July. Our heartfelt Thank You to these teams! FBC Petersburg, FBC Kansas City, FBC Ann Arbor, ABC-New York State, Faith Foundry, and ChenMed. These teams would be more than happy to talk to any other church considering sending a mission team about their positive experiences here, which have been a blessing to AMOS and our communities.
Thank you for giving health and hope to thousands of people in Nicaragua, even in the most rural villages, hours away from the nearest health center or hospital. The help you are bringing to nearly 70,000 vulnerable Nicaraguans has never been more important. Please keep praying for the people of Nicaragua, families in need, our staff and community health workers, and for no more violence so that peace, health and hope can prevail in Nicaragua.
With love and gratitude,
Dr. David Parajón, Executive Director
On behalf of the AMOS Team