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The way forward is solidarity and friendship: Santo Tomás and Olympia

“We have lessons to teach each other and stories to tell each other about how to survive and resist and thrive even when times are scary and dangerous. There is a way forward and the way forward is solidarity and friendship and figuring out the ways in which our interests are actually deeply aligned with one another.” —Leo Ferguson, Movement Building Organizer at Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, from in an interview with On the Media on November 2 on the subject of the Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburg, PA.

This is the story of our relationship with Santo Tomás, born in a time of war imposed by our government, that continues now to the very hard times the Nicaraguan people are facing.

While hosting a wonderful 12th delegation from our sister town in April-May, we watched in shock from a distance as many anti-government protests erupted in Nicaragua and ended with hundreds of deaths, with many more wounded, locked up or disappeared.

Our current newsletter includes differing perspectives from our friends in Santo Tomás and from various websites. As always, the Thurston Santo Tomás Sister City Association (TSTSCA) stands firmly against US Intervention in Nicaragua in any shape or form. Neither do we accept violence perpetrated by the Nicaraguan government or the protestors.

Nicaragua has shifted from an acute, several month crisis to a protracted period of simmering tensions, economic uncertainty, and an escalation by the likes of John Bolton. This new US National Security Advisor calls Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela the “Axis of Evil” in the Western Hemisphere.  With funding already going to anti-government groups in those three countries through USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, we fear Bolton’s declaration may be the prelude to much greater intervention.

The US supported the military coup and subsequent electoral fraud by the president of Honduras, ignores the corruption scandals of Guatemala’s leader and applauds ultra-right presidents in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.  It’s clear that the appointment of Bolton is not about bringing democracy to these “axis of evil” countries that have public access to medicine and education. Whatever one believes about the leadership of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, can we agree these are sovereign nations that the US should respect?

The steering committee of the TSTSCA decided we needed to cancel visits by our summer community delegation as well as a proposed winter delegation due to instability in the country. As our relationship in deeply grounded in cultural and educational exchanges, we look forward to resuming the visits to and from our sister town. At this time, we do not know when that will be.  In the meantime, we continue to raise critically important funds for our sister community in Nicaragua. (please support our Rummage Sale; see ad below). Read wildly differing firsthand accounts from friends in Santo Tomás in our Dec. newsletter on our website: http://oly-wa.us/tstsca/

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