Jalapa with history of war, tobacco, and migration

Jalapa has been the scene of two fratricidal wars: the first between liberals and conservatives, the second and cruelest, between the so-called counterrevolution and the Sandinistas.

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Por: Voces e Intertextual

The inhabitants of Jalapa remember that the limits that divide the municipality were a reason for war when in Nicaragua there were only two political parties: the liberal and the conservative. The milestones changed places depending on the color that dominated the neighboring town hall.

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During the 1980s, Jalapa was one of the most active war zones due to its proximity to Honduras, where the contra camps were based. Today that same proximity favors illegal migration, the smuggling of precious woods, and drug trafficking.

80’s war

The Jalapa Valley, in Nueva Segovia, is one of the richest productive areas in the country and was also one of the most dangerous mined areas during the 1980s. This caused the displacement of thousands of people who abandoned their land and production was reduced. drastically.

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At least 80{0f9d1c8cedb22d8cc6e225f68805c1e4d5d1de9127ed1fd149ad10870a6265ea} of productive land was infected with antipersonnel mines. With the National Plan for Humanitarian Demining in Nicaragua, which ended in 2010, some 8,427 mines were destroyed in the municipality of Jalapa alone.

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The inhabitants of Jalapa have a reputation for “not being left behind” and claiming their rights when something is unfair. Daniel Ortega himself appealed to this sense of justice in 2008 when he incited that population to protest in front of “the usurers’ offices (financial houses)”.

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The roadblocks stopped national and international traffic for 12 days at the Yalagüina junction, until the Microfinance Association, Asomif, agreed to negotiate the restructuring of the balances for up to a period of five years and one grace period.

Corn and Tobacco

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After the demining stage that took ten years ended, the planting of tobacco contributed to the development of the area. Although the dominant crop is still corn and perhaps that is why they call Jalapa “the great milpa of Nicaragua”.

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At least 4,800 acres of corn were planted last year against about 3,000 of tobacco. However, according to the Nicaraguan Chamber of Tobacco Growers (CNT) and the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN), tobacco has become the fifth most important economic activity in the country. In 2021, the export of this product generated more than 22.7 million dollars. In addition, for three years Nicaragua has been the world’s leading exporter of premium cigars.

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On the other hand, the felling of large hectares of protected pine forests in the Dipilto-Jalapa mountain range in Nueva Segovia has caused irreversible damage. “Neither Marena, Inafor, or the mayor’s offices have done anything to stop the deforestation,” residents who already suffer from the drought of water sources have denounced for years.

Migration

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Hundreds of migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Peru, and other countries pass through Jalapa on their way to the United States. But since the free Nicaraguan visa for Cubans was approved, their influx has increased.

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A citizen who prefers to omit his name, reports that “Cubans come in rented vehicles, directly from when they get off the plane to Jalapa. They don’t stay here long. One day, max.”

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The cost of this transfer, according to the source, is 150 dollars per group of five. A coyote in the area can charge between 100 and 200 dollars for each migrant to cross over to the Honduran side.

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