Militarization and Extraction in the Afro-Indigenous Miskitu Coast of Nicaragua (WGF - Dissertation Fieldwork Grant)

Part of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Grant Application Collection Metadata (DRAFT) project

Author(s): Fernando Montero

Year: 2015


This resource is an application for the Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

My research examines new configurations of sovereign power in Central America in the context of two momentous transformations currently taking place on the Afro-indigenous Miskitu Coast of Nicaragua. The first of these is the escalating militarization of the coast by the neo-Sandinista regime of Daniel Ortega, allegedly in response to high volumes of cocaine trafficking. The second is the concession to a Chinese company of the rights to build a transoceanic canal across Nicaragua, requiring the expropriation of wide expanses of Afro-indigenous communal land. These large-scale political and economic interventions are being enacted without prior popular consultation in the affected regions and against the expressed wishes of elected indigenous and Afro-Creole leaders. My research asks how these processes of militarization and extraction clash or converge with Afro-indigenous forms of sociopolitical organization. My fieldwork will focus on two of the most important institutions of local governance in the rural villages of the Miskitu Coast: the annually-elected indigenous judges, known as 'wihtas,' responsible for arbitrating conflicts and determining the appropriate forms of punishment or restitution in cases of injury and criminal offense; and the annually-elected 'síndicos,' regulators of communal resources and economic concessions for multi-communal 'territorial blocks.' How does the presence of the military alter indigenous legal practices, and how do practices of community policing morph as a result? What would a new regional economy dominated by a new transoceanic canal look like, considering that the concessionaire is a Chinese company acting in a purportedly socialist country, in a region technically governed by a communal property regime?

Cite this Record

Militarization and Extraction in the Afro-Indigenous Miskitu Coast of Nicaragua (WGF - Dissertation Fieldwork Grant). Fernando Montero. 2015 ( tDAR id: 468751) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8468751

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min long: -87.781; min lat: 10.682 ; max long: -83.145; max lat: 15.115 ;

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Contact(s): Wenner-Gren Foundation


Rights & Attribution: This resource is an application from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and has been approved by the grantee solely for pedagogical purposes. Please do not cite, circulate, or duplicate any part of these documents without the express written consent of the author.

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