Examining her example of the Miskitos
more carefully, it is not obvious that identity appeals explained their success, or if it was due to the interest of the Sandinistas in maintaining their progressive image at home and abroad, or if it had more to do with the support the group received from the United States (which has rarely been seen as an ally of indigenous peoples) because of US geostrategic interests.
If all goes according to plan, both the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and the Miskito Indians will make money off the deal in which the Miskitos will get advice from the council on how to manage their forests, mines and eco-tourism.
Even so, this must seem like paradise when Mercado thinks back to the early 1980s when he was thrown in jail for opposing plans by the Sandinista government to relocate thousands of Miskitos against their will.
The pirates buy the lobsters from the Miskitos who make their living diving for the bottom-dwelling crustaceans.
This is not the first time they've had to defend their homeland: The Miskitos fought off successive Spanish governments and, in the 80s, were forced to take up arms against the Sandinistas during Nicaragua's nine-year civil war.
Few Americans know the plight of Miskito Indian refugees, who have been driven from their burned villages.
They have closed churches and imprisoned or murdered many people, but the Miskito and other Indian groups may have suffered the most.
About 150,000 Miskitos live on tiny islands and hamlets along the coast near the Honduras-Nicaragua border.
Miskito Indian villagers had survived in that debris, grabbing onto whatever was afloat and at hand.
Nicaragua is seeking to develop its relationship with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and to involve other Nicaraguan-Caribbean ethnic communities including Miskitos
, Sumus, Ramas, and Creoles, all of whom, like the Garifunas, preserve their own culture.
The violence is centered in the isolated and impoverished Waspam municipality, near the Honduran border, where indigenous inhabitants, mostly of Miskito ethnicity, have complained for years about illegal encroachment on their communal lands by colonos (colonists), mestizo settlers who are pushing farther and farther into the RAAN to exploit its valuable hardwoods, clear forest space for cattle ranching, and, in some cases, set up clandestine drug-trafficking outposts.
The upheaval has also displaced hundreds of Miskito inhabitants, with some seeking refuge across the border in Honduras, the news agency reported.