Experts and Elon students engage in dialogue on the Nicaragua crisis 

The human rights crisis experienced in Nicaragua during 2018 was the main topic of discussion at an expert forum at Elon.

After the United Nations declared the situation in Nicaragua alarming, the Elon community had the opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Nicaragua with the civil society uprising and the massive exodus of refugees into Costa Rica from field experts.

The Forum on the Nicaragua Crisis was held during class on Nov. 9, 2018, at the Global Commons Media Room. The event was sponsored by the Department of Human Service Studies, the Peace and Conflict Studies minor, the Department of World Languages and Cultures, El Centro and the Latinx Hispanic Union. About 50 students and faculty attended the forum, which was possible with funding from the Living and Learning Community and Department of World Languages and Cultures. 

Among the speakers was Ronald Garcia, a Nicaraguan-American, who presented on the history of violence and corruption in Nicaragua. He provided an overview of the long-term impacts of the country's 1980s civil war, and how Nicaragua has become a corridor to drug cartels operating in the Americas. He explained the why and how of the current civic uprising, and the government violation of the human rights against the protesters that captured the world news, which both national human rights organizations, as well as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, have strongly condemned.

Joining Garcia was Nitza Segui Albino, a Puerto Rican who has lived in Costa Rica for the last 3 years and works with the International Organization of Migration, Enlaces Nicaragüenses and the Solidarity Center. Based on her 20 years of work experience on migration concerns, she talked about the history of forced migration within and outside Nicaragua during the civil war and recently after the civic uprising that has produced a new wave of refugees into Costa Rica. She also discussed the protection challenges faced with the increased number of refugee applicants and asylum seekers from Nicaragua in other nations of the Americas.

The panel also included Junie Vargas, an Elon student who is originally from Nicaragua and a member of the Latinx Hispanic Union. She shared her personal story about being a Nicaraguan, now a Nicaraguan-American and how that conflict impacted her personally and as part of the growing diaspora. Carmen Monico, assistant professor of human service studies, organized the forum, confirmed the speakers, facilitated the forum discussion and made arrangements for the video recording of the forum is now available on Learning on Demand: