March 05, 2010

The Dark Side

 
I have seen this image twice now, once by the side of the road, and again in a park in Esteli.  It appears to be an updated version of a neolithic fertility goddess statue.   The fertility goddess appears in human cultures all over the world, and typically represents the generosity of the earth.  The Americas provided the world with many important crops such as corn, tomatoes, chocolate and rubber. Central America, with its year round growing season and rich soil can also grow imported crops such as rice, coffee, cotton, bananas and sugar cane.  

For some the gift of fertility becomes a curse.  Bananas are the cheapest fruit anyone can buy in Canada and probably anywhere else.  A combination of agricultural technology, cheap labour, reliable mechanized transportation, and modern chemistry have made all this possible, but there is a price, and it is being paid here.

This is Ciudadela Nemagon, a tent city beside the presidential palace in Managua.  Nemagon is a pesticide that was known to be hazardous to health, but was applied anyway to banana plantations.  A group of former banana plantation workers have set up this tent city, a misnomer, there are no tents, the shelters are made entirely of discarded material and sheets of plastic, they are seeking some form of justice from government, what,  was not exactly clear.  If you google Nemagon and Nicaragua you will know as much as I do about it, but the picture I have posted will not portray the shock of seeing this place and walking through it.









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