Back in December, I posted here an imagined letter from a Nicaraguan to an acquaintance in the U.S. The letter was wide-ranging in its topics, a general missive of introduction and inquiry, curiosity and clarification. It generated an equally-imaginary response just days later from an equally-imagined person in the U.S. Now our Nicaraguan “imaginary friend” has written again, with an interesting perspective for those of us in the North.
Buenas dias, mi amigo!
I did not write back to you since December because we have been very busy with the farm. We do the last of the coffee harvest now. We also have been working with a research man here in Nicaragua who has been teaching us about changing and improving our farms, with many interesting ideas. One example is completing a family investment plan (FIP), which is a very complete look at all of the aspects of our producer lives. The exercise is very detailed and asks us questions about our farms, our families, our futures, everything. Every member of our family has been helping with this. So I have not been able to respond to you during these days.
I have wanted to ask you some questions about many of the stories we have heard recently. During your election, we have heard many times the call for “America First.” Some of the people who live in our area became very excited when they first heard this. They believe that your president intends to help the people in all of Centro America and Sud America! As Americans, we can hardly believe it, but this what your president has said.
But there are others who say that he did not mean this at all. The president of our administrative council says that he meant only the United States and that he was going to become even more demanding of other countries to help his people even more. I told our cooperative members that the U.S. president would not have said “Americans” if he meant just U.S. I reminded him that we are Americans and that we were Americans even before the U.S. Many agreed with me but said this is not the way the U.S. president thinks of us.
Then I reminded him about the other saying that is used, “Make America Great Again.” I told my friends that this was proof that the U.S. president meant us. The United States has always been a great country of power and money, so there would be no need to become “great again.” If he meant only U.S., then he would say “greater.”
The U.S. president said that he did not like the CAFTA agreement and that it was a terrible deal. Of course, we in Nicaragua agree with that! It has only benefitted the producers in the North. We are hopeful that it might be considered again to be more fair. I do not believe that the U.S. president thinks that CAFTA is bad for him, so he must be thinking of us, no?
In Nicaragua, we have lived through many actions from the U.S. that hurt our country and all of Centro America. It is partly why many of our young people have decided to move away and find a better opportunity. It seems to us that your president knows this and sees that past policies have not been fair. Maybe he knows that our countries were once great, too, and now is the time to make them great again. I hope that is how he thinks to end illegal immigration to his country.
I try to read articles that will explain these stories but it is very hard to understand what the new U.S. policies will be. So I hope you can write to me and explain what you think is going to happen. We believe in “America First” and making “America Great Again,” but maybe we don’t understand?
In two weeks we attend another workshop to learn more about the FIP and other tools to help us produce better harvests. I will ask these questions then but I hope you will write to me with your thinking.
Adios, Su amigo Nicaraguense
I’m not sure whether a response to my Nicaraguan friend will help much in his understanding of evolving policy in the U.S. Most of it does not make much sense to us in the North, either. Meanwhile, I was sent a link to YouTube, copied here, which puts into visual form what our Nica friend was trying to say. We are not the only Americans, or even the first….