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Amherst College

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society


Twenty-four years after the passage of the Autonomy Law (Ley 28) by the Nicaraguan National Assembly, the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) continues to struggle to exercise its newfound rights and fill the space provided to it. Especially in the five years since President Daniel Ortega took office for the second time and began an earnest effort to reinforce the autonomy kept weak over the past sixteen years, the internal challenges facing the region’s ability to assert itself in its own political and economic development have become increasingly clear. This project aims to highlight these challenges as a synthesis of qualitative interviews with the actors involved in the implementation and advancement of the autonomy process. The three broad challenges found in this study – dependency, the mentality of autonomy, and leadership and the governments of the region – are difficult but not insurmountable, and it is critical that they are overcome to ensure that the people of the RAAS can continue to build on their rights to self-government and autonomous resource management.


Latin American Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Political Theory | Politics and Social Change | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies