TRADE UNIONS, COFFEE CO-OPS AND THE AMBASSADOR

Last night (Weds 2/11/16) Nicaragua’s Ambassador to London, Guiselle Morales-Echaverry and Christine Blower, former General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, spoke on solidarity with Nicaragua at the London headquarters of trade union Unite.

Christine spoke of the local education improvements in the rural areas of Nicaragua and the high levels of participation. The trade unions had worked well together and that British trade unionists had a long and enduring friendship with their Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group promotes the trade union links.

Ambassador Guiselle Morales- Echaverry told of the impact of successful government policies on global warming and gender equality. She also gave an assessment of the Nicaraguan elections due later in November. Polls suggest a lead for the current President Daniel Ortega but turnout is expected to be high.

It was a real pleasure to meet the Ambassador again as earlier this year we welcomed the Ambassador to a civic reception at Lewisham Town Hall as part of our town twinning link with Matagalpa a coffee and cocoa region in Nicaragua. She once again sent warm greetings to Lewisham.

Recently, I and other Lewisham Co-op party members met Ivania Calderon Peralta, a board member of Matagalpa’s Cecocafen Coffee Coop, who was in London to launch the Fairtrade Foundations’s international fairer trade strategy Fairtrade Can, I Can.

Around 30,000 people benefit from the work of Cecocafen and its shared resources that help poorer farmers access technology, higher production standards, marketing and education. (If you search for Cecocafen with Google Chrome you get the option of translating the website into English). You can also see a video about Cecocafen here with subtitles.

 Lewisham Coop Party is exploring ways of helping Cecocafen market their delicious coffee to residents, shops, cafes and restaurants in Lewisham (yes, I tried it and it’s much better than the stuff we currently have at the town hall!).