If we were betting khans, we’d wager all our loose change on the eventual failure of the Communitarian Nation of the Moskitia. There’s just no way that Nicaragua will ever let its northeastern coast secede, no matter how legitimate the grievances of the Miskito people who’ve called it home for centuries. And while the separatist Miskitos can certainly cause a bit of bother, their numbers and financial backing are far too small to cause any lasting impact. Sadly, the forecast probably calls for more rioting, followed by years of seething tension—par for the course when small, poverty-stricken ethnic minorities reach for the secessionist brass ring, despite lacking the muscle to bring that dream to fruition.
What makes the Miskito situation stand out, though, is the fact it may have well been caused by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s revolutionary idealism. Certainly the Miskitos have had beef with the Sandinistas for decades now—back in the early ’80s, the Marxist government treated the group quite unkindly. But the Miskitos current boldness seems to have been spurred in part by Ortega’s zeal for supporting secessionists abroad:
President Daniel Ortega, a revolutionary who claims “indigenous blood” and pledges solidarity with underdog struggles for independence around the globe, was the first and only president in the world to recognize the breakaway Russian-backed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia during last year’s hostilities in Georgia. And at last month’s Summit of the Americas, Ortega advocated for Puerto Rico’s independence from “the colonialist policies” of the United States — a “show of solidarity” that irritated the Puerto Rican government. Now, faced with a popular secession in his own backyard, Ortega has remained tightlipped, and his government has not yet made any substantial response to the claims of the Nation of Moskitia.
A first-hand, English-language account of the Miskito uprising here, from an American woman doing volunteer work in Puerto Cabezas. And a short history of the Miskitos, which included a fruitful 17th-century alliance with a British pirate, can be read here.