Nicaragua, a country with a government that supports artisans
Many years ago Luis Chávez Delgadillo had to leave Nicaragua during a period of neoliberal government because there were no prospects of being able to make a living. In Mexico and Guatemala he learned a trade as a leather craftsman.
However, six years ago he returned to Nicaragua to discover a country very different from the one that he had left: one which values and supports those who need it such as artisans.
Jorge Capelan interviewed Luis at the handicraft market organised by the Ministry of Family, Cooperative, Community and Associative Economy (MEFCCA) in the centre of the city of León. The market is similar to those in many other municipalities throughout the country.
“I am originally from here in León. I make leather goods by hand – bags, purses, handbags, wallets – using materials manufactured in Nicaragua. ‘ Luis explains.
He adds that in other countries “the artisan is relegated to a street seller Here, what I have seen that is exceptional, is that support is given to people who really need it. We are not business people or anything like that. We are self employed workers learning how to form a company and continue to progress.”
Since 2018 Nicaragua has faced a difficult period with a failed coup followed by the hurricanes of 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
He is not aware of the re-establishment of relations with China and the recent agreements signed by Nicaragua and the Asian giant but Luis views the future with optimism based on his trust in God, the country’s leaders and his own personal experience.
“Have you seen any improvement in the last six months?” we asked him:
” I noticed that when I came back to sell here in November surprisingly, people were buying. Tourism has returned, less than before, but tourists are buying things. We’ll see what [level] of activity this injects. Even if they don’t buy from me, they buy from the vendor next door, so there is a movement of capital”, he explains.