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"US-Nicaragua Solidarity Since 1988"

Dear friends of Santo Tomas,

It's been a long time since those of us active in the TSTSCA have created and sent out a newsletter. Increasing economic injustice and violence across the planet is overwhelming but global resistance continues to grow and inspire action. From the climate crisis to the crisis at the Southern border of the US, from Hong Kong to Chile to Colombia, Northern Syria to Yemen and Palestine, to the coup d'etat in Bolivia, let us each find where we can take a role in creating the change we desperately need to enact. In Nicaragua, the situation is still complicated and, frankly, hard to really grasp. Our friends there are exhausted from weathering the challenges of the political unrest and economic impact of the crisis from April 2018 forward. After canceling three delegations from Olympia that were lined up to visit our sister town over the last 18 months, we are launching a "listening and learning" delegation of two longtime members. Grace Cox and Jean Eberhardt will travel to our sister town of Santo Tomas in early December for a jam-packed three-week visit with people with differing perspectives on the current state and future of Nicaragua.

Grace and Jean will report back to our community on Tuesday, February 25th at Equal Latin in downtown Olympia at 520 4th Ave East. Enjoy the no host dinner at 6:30pm, followed by the 7pm presentation "Solidarity in Tough Times: a 30+year relationship with Santo Tomas, Ch. Nicaragua"

In this newsletter, meet three new first-year university students from Santo Tomas who receive partial scholarships from the TSTSCA in close collaboration with the Comite para Desarrollo Comunal. We are now committed to 16 scholars' education, with a promise of a better future for them, their families and their community. This is such an inspiring group of "firsts" in their families to pursue higher education and professional aspirations. Please help them succeed!

Our last newsletter had personal reflections from Santo Tomas about the crisis from two very distinct perspectives in support of, and against, the Nicaraguan government. You can find and reread it on our infrequently updated web-page - https://oly-wa.us/TSTSCA/ This December 2019 newsletter has a locally written critique of the role of some Non-Governmental Organizations on the global south and their financing by interested, controlling parties such as the US government. There is also an article drawn from a monthly Nicaraguan publication that analyses the state repression in their country. The TSTSCA continues to hold firm in our belief that Nicaragua is a sovereign state in which our government has no right to intervene, but which has done so for over 150 years. When have we seen US interventions lead to good outcomes for the people of that or other countries? This does not mean we are impervious to witnessing and decrying injustice perpetrated on the current opposition in Nicaragua or against Sandinistas and their government institutions.

We ask that you continue to engage in critical reflection with us, and that you continue to support the life-affirming work we support through the university scholarships, the children's free lunch program, a modest public library project, the sewing school and entrepreneurial trades programs in Santo Tomas. We've included a return envelope with this mailed newsletter; please give generously as you are able and know that this all-volunteer group is very thoughtful about getting donations right to where they'll have a tremendous, positive impact on tomasinos' lives.

Thank you so much for engaging in this ongoing relationship!

Jean Eberhardt, Grace Cox, Maureen Hill, Emily and Seamus Petrie, Bill Zachmann, Audrey Levine and Nels Johnson, Barbara Keyt, Lee Miller, Diane Dakin, Stephen Bray, Wyatt Warner, Diego Lopez

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