Town Crier News 4 October – 10 October
The Town Crier is a weekly summary of Nicaraguan news stories that can be found online. My contribution is NOT journalism, as can be discerned from the conversational tone and dry humor of my English paraphrasing of the articles in Spanish. This list is by no means comprehensive. In fact I just picked the most relevant, funny and ridiculous news stories of the week. For real news in English check out the nicaraguadispatch.com. For entertainment, stay right here.
Here’s what’s been going on in this crazy town for the last week:
Ex major leaguer Vicente Padilla makes grand slam into taxi
The former big league baseball star Vicente Padilla was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser when he made an error while running for home and hit a taxi. According to the taxi’s passengers, the taxi driver committed a foul by driving drunk. Looks like they will both have to walk and will probably be the bunt of jokes for a while to come.
Che Guevara chess class held at UNAN
Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were considered masters of the game and the UNAN university in Managua held a “lightening” class for students in their name. Well, Che’s name. Maybe they will change the name when Fidel meets his checkmate.
Mudslide in Jinotega prompts evacuations
About five families were relocated temporarily in an effort to avoid what happened in Guatemala last week. The gobierno says there are about 70 houses that are at risk at the moment.
Fisherman stabbed by fish then stabbed by fisherman, dies
Two fisherman were fishing in Mechapa when one of their catch wiggled free and stung(?) one of the guys. He threw a fit and blamed his fishing partner and they began to fight over it. After returning home, the situation turned fishier when the upset stung fisherman confronted his fishing partner who was relaxing in his hammock. The fishing partner didn’t want to hear it so he stabbed him in the chest. The stung, stabbed fisherman took off running down the beach until he collapsed and went up to that big fishing boat in the sky. The fish was last seen swimming happy and free, extending his middle fin toward Mechapa.
Drought causes an estimated $50m in losses – Upanic
The Union of Producers of Agriculture of Nicaragua (aka Upanic. I swear I did not make that up.) estimates about fifty million bucks in losses due to the drought this year, mainly in sugar cane and peanuts. I know, I hear you saying, “That’s peanuts!” But yes, Nicaragua exports a lot of peanuts, mostly to Skippy consumers in the USA and elephant ranches in India.
Tornado rips through shanties in Acoyapa, Chontales
There’s no place like home unless you live in a stick and tin house that is in the path of a tornado. Several families are picking up the pieces after their homes were damaged by a tornado in the megatropolis of Cascabel, Acoyapa. Nobody was killed, not even that witch that lives down the road whose house fell on her.
Coastguard saves dozens of fisherman stranded at sea
The Nica coastguard were busy giving high fives to each other after rescuing a fishing vessel stranded off the coast of Bilwi. The boat had 14 crew, 35 divers and 35 canoe fishermen and was drifting about 60 miles northeast of the port city.
Cocaine bust at the Costa Rican border: cops find 200 packets
The local police force were
overjoyed making strides at their lucky find successful efforts to slow the trade of drugs at the Penas Blancas border with a catch confiscation of 200 packets of cocaine. According to officials, the 180 packets were hidden inside a tractor trailer heading north. Authorities say the 150 packets found will be taken as evidence against the driver. Rest assured, police say, the 125 packets could get the driver a minimum of five years in jail, if there is any evidence left to prosecute him with on his court date.
Robbery in Managua by one armed bandit, then by knife
A gambler was leaving a neighborhood casino in Managua when he was approached by an assailant with a knife and robbed of his possessions. The robber got only the gambler’s cell phone, because everybody knows you rob gamblers before they go to the casino, not after. The robber then escaped on a bicycle but was later apprehended by authorities. The gambler is still seeking justice for the money he lost at the slot machine and vows to keep going until he wins it all back.
Open manhole scares local residents
No, they aren’t used to it by now. The manhole has been a nuisance to local residents of Managua for some time who have tried unsuccessfully to get the city to do something about it. Their own efforts have been in vain. They have stacked tires on top to alert drivers of its presence but “vagos” have stolen them every time. Which, frankly, is probably what happened to the cover in the first place.
Student sees trouble ahead when he gets short end of the stick.
In his eye.
An eighth-grader is calling for eye-for-an-eye justice after a fellow student threw a pencil across the room, sticking him in the eye. The pencil thrower’s mom says he was just playing around, the pencil receiver’s mom says the kid now needs a cornea transplant and may lose his eye. The teachers didn’t think anything of it when it happened because there wasn’t any blood. In fact they made him stay in class for the rest of the school day and he rode home on his bicycle to inform his parents afterward.
Apocalyptic cult prophet leader arrested
The authorities decided to clamp down on the cult known as “Mystical Body of Jesus Christ” who have been camping out on a farm outside of Chinandega for the last two weeks. They say they arrested the leader not because of something to do with religious freedom but “for the kids.” First lady Murillo went on to say that there are over 300 kids without access to health or education (hmmm…sound familiar to anyone who has been to rural Nicaragua?) and they are verifying that the kids belong to the parents who claim them which is difficult because they don’t have papers. Lesson learned: Keep your receipts!
Tourist thieves and their buyer busted
A local vendor at the Oriental market in Managua was ordered to pay C$13,500 for buying stolen goods from a group of thieves that targeted tourists. The criminal gang was sentenced to 10 years each. Their MO was to stop vehicles driven by tourists and steal all of their stuff. If something like that happened to you or anyone you know, read the article below where names are named. Not that you will get your shit back or anything.
Chicken bus takes flight, lands 80 meters from road
Way up north in San Rafael del Norte a drunk bus driver was to blame when his bus drove off an embankment. One person was killed and everyone else was pretty shaken up after the bus came to a stop approximately 80 meters from the road.
Is that a good idea?
The HOY reports on a street food vendor that grills meat on a taxi’s motor. No report on what SAE weight oil they use to fry the plantains.
City has plan to rid the streets of drunks
The bustling megacity of Madriz, Somoto says they are up to the brim in drunks. Here’s a drunk, there’s a drunk, everywhere’s a drunk drunk. Causing problems, making scenes and well, they have had enough. The city and the local police say they have a plan. They did not go into detail, nor did they say they have any details to go into. But they all agree that it is a dilemma. And that is the first step: admit that you have a problem.
Riots at the gold mines
The big news this week has been the riots going on in the mining country. Apparently the Canadian mining company, B2Gold, sacked three of its workers for undisclosed reasons last week. This week the rest of the workers went apeshit and started a protest which brought out loads of community members and others unrelated to the mine which turned into a riot. The story turned violent when a police officer was beaten to death and others suffered broken limbs and burns.
In English: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/06/nicaragua-b2gold-idUSL1N12602B20151006
Not in English: http://www.hoy.com.ni/2015/10/07/protesta-deja-un-fallecido/
Ambulance smashes guy on motorcycle right in front of hospital
Man busted for carrying pot in his sack
A guy was busted by the cops for hiding half a “taco” of weed strapped firmly to his testicles. It was found by the drug dog who knew exactly where to look.
Wednesday protesters wind up with egg on face
Every Wednesday the National Coalition for Democracy marches at the rotunda at Metrocentro in Managua and lately things have been getting a bit out of hand. A couple of weeks ago someone fired shots at the protesters and the dozens of police officers that congregate to keep the peace did nothing to stop him. Now people are infiltrating the movement and throwing eggs and pepper spraying the protesters in an attempt to destabilize the movement. The next Wednesday you are in Managua pass by there are see the action.
Fewer extremely poor people in Nicaragua this year
The level of extreme poverty, or those who earn less than $1.81/day, is down to 30% of the population according to the squiggly lines on this chart:
Green line is the percent of rural poor, blue line is urban poor and the red line is the national average.
New US ambassador to Nicaragua says she enjoyed her first week in Managua
Phyllis Powers is out, Laura Dogu is in. She gave a press conference this week saying the usual diplomat stuff like that she will promote a bilateral relation with Nicaragua based on a dialog of mutual respect.
I say welcome to Nicaragua, Laura. Let me know if there is anything you need (like help getting your residency perhaps?).
Kid who lost at carnival game blames carnie for stealing his phone
When the 16-year-old victim realized his phone was missing, it was just after playing a makeshift carnival game called “chalupa” at the Huembes market in Managua. The kid blamed the carnie for taking it off his person as he was playing and got the cops involved. The carnie claims he has been working for 20 years as a carnie in the market and this was the first time he has ever been
caught accused of stealing.
Riots in Chichigalpa
Protests and riots have been the theme this week in the news. Now they are protesting in Chichigalpa in the name of the thousands of farmers suffering from chronic renal failure. They claim neither the government nor the San Antonio Sugar Company are doing enough to prevent and treat the disease. Protestors have destroyed municipal buildings, a gas station and the local police station, burning it to the ground.
USAID unveils latest attempt at Nica fiscal transparency with new website
Sorcerer declared not guilty for triple homicide, guilty of rape
A sorcerer from Esteli was declared not guilty for the triple homicide of a family in the Matagalpan village of Muy Muy. The sorcerer convinced the old lady her vision problems were due to their land being haunted and they needed to sell it to cure her. After they sold the land for $21k, the sorcerer told them they could multiply their money by allowing him to perform a spell on the sold land that would show them where they could find hidden treasure. The family went along with it, one by one, and when they started digging the sorcerer konked them on the back of the head, killing them. Supposedly. The jury found him not guilty because there were no witnesses.
The sorcerer was also accused of rape of a 16-year old girl by convincing her she was possessed and her condition was “worse than aids.” Apparently he used his magic wand to cure her but it landed him in jail for 15 years.
Man dies after being hit by tree branch while riding in the back of a truck
In Leon a man died after catching a tree branch to the face, knocking him out of the truck he was riding in the back of. After hitting the pavement, another truck ran over his head.
New mother has baby snatched by phony aid worker
An 18-year-old mother of a one-month-old baby says that a lady posing as a good samaritan snatched her child. The lady showed up to the family’s house offering aid to families of new mothers in t
he form of new, furnished houses. When the mom asked the lady to hold her baby as she went to check on another child, the lady disappeared with the infant.
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