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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide


Solidarity with Nemagon Victims in Nicaragua

Posted to the IUF website 29-Apr-2005

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On May 13, the struggle of the Nicaraguan rural workers encamped in front of the National Assembly building in Managua reached a turning point with the signing of the "Preliminary Agreements". The agreements set out a 21-point programme of commitments designed to ensure medical, social and economic assistance to the victims of Nemagon poisoning and chronic renal deficiency, which have affected workers on banana and sugar cane plantations, respectively. The first phase of the campaign has ended in victory, and we are no longer calling for messages to the President of Nicaragua.

The IUF is calling for support and solidarity with the thousands of Nicaraguan rural workers who have been camping in front of the National Assembly for over two months to demand justice for the victims of Nemagon. The acutely toxic pesticide, a derivative of the notorious DBCP, was extensively and indiscriminately applied on banana plantations for many decades, including the years following its 1979 ban on safety grounds in the country of manufacture, the United States. Over 100,000 Nicaraguans suffer from the numerous effects of Nemagon exposure, which include dermatological and reproductive disorders and fatal cancers. At least one thousand Nicaraguans have died as a result of exposure to the pesticide – including 40 deaths since February 20 in the banana-growing department of Chinandega, from where the workers launched their "March with no Turning Back" on Managua on February 20. They are committed to maintaining their encampment until the government takes decisive action.



In 2001, the National Assembly passed law 364, which authorizes legal action against the transnational pesticide makers and banana companies which manufactured and used Nemagon and requires full medical treatment for all the victims. Nicaraguan courts have ruled that Dole's Nicaraguan subsidiary and the chemical companies Dow and Shell owe USD 490 million in compensation. Not a penny has been paid and the Bolaños government has not fulfilled the commitments prescribed by the legislation.

You can support the workers' campaign for justice for all Nemagon victims by sending a message to the President of Nicaragua. Messages can be sent in Spanish and English through the solidarity page at the top of the web site of the IUF Latin American Regional Secretariat.

To send the message click here .