San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Separatists Retreat, Regroup After Week of Tensions

The northern Caribbean port town of Bilwi returned to relative calm last weekend, following several days of a tense standoff between Miskito separatists, riot police and Sandinista sympathizers.

Rev. Héctor Williams, the Wihta-Tara, or “Great Judge” of the separatist Communitarian Nation of the Moskitia, told The Nica Times this week that his followers have “dispersed” and returned to their communities to regroup and tell others about last week’s violence, which claimed the life of one elderly separatist supporter, who suffocated in tear gas fired by riot police (NT, Oct. 23).

Williams said the streets of Bilwi have returned to calm, but insists the separatists have not given up their goal of succeeding from Nicaragua.

“If anything, our movement is bigger now; more people have joined after last week,” Williams said.

Last week’s violence did, however, teach the separatists that they have to change their strategy, Williams said. He said they will no longer try to take over the regional government buildings, because they no longer see that as a crucial step in asserting their independence.

–Tim Rogers


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