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Indiginous Community Matambuguito Fights For the Right to Organize

By Arianna McKinney

Matambuguito, a community of about 200 people belonging to the Chorotega Indigenous Reserve of Matambu won a victory fighting for the free right to organize on Sunday, February 26th when they officially constituted their own Association of Specific Development, and most of the community turned up for the celebration.

“For me, it’s the greatest achievement that an indigenous community has obtained,” affirmed David Caravaca, syndic for the district of Mansion, to which Matambuguito belongs.

The Indigenous Reserve of Matambu crosses the border of two cantons, with the community of Matambu in the Canton of Hojancha and Matambuguito in the Canton of Nicoya. Community leader Edwin Hernandez Hernandez explained that Matambuguito is 4-5 kilometers from Matambu through the mountain, which can only be traversed on foot and takes about an hour and a half to walk. 
Creating a community organization has been a fight for Matambuguito since the community officially belongs to the Association of Integral Development of Matambu, formed 30 years ago, and Indigenous Law 6172 specifies that only one such organization can exist within an indigenous reserve. “It’s been 30 years and we haven’t received even one benefit from that association,” Hernandez declared.

Caravaca explained that when Matambuguito originally received permission from DINADECO to form its own association, Matambu submitted an appeal to prevent the formation of the association and, in turn, Matambuguito submitted another appeal for discrimination. But now the community of Matambuguito has found an alternative: the specific development association for construction and maintenance of roads.

Lidia Madrigal, legal representative of DINADECO, informed the community that 50 had to sign for the association by 3 p.m. for it to be constituted, and by that time 80 had already signed. She encouraged the community to continue supporting the new association with the same level of participation in the future. 

To celebrate the constitution of the association, the community set off little bombs, enjoyed musical and dance presentations, played soccer and feasted on typical foods like sopa de albóndigas (meatball soup) and buñelos (fried balls made of corn flour, cheese and yucca).

Antonio Perez Perez, 84, and his wife Alva Aguirres, 80, are among the oldest
members of the community. Antonio expressed that he was happy that the
community achieved forming an association before he dies.
The public force plays Marimba to celebrate with the community of
Community leader Edwin Hernandez Hernandez has been fighting to unite
Matambuguito with its own association.

The public force was present in full force to show their support of the community and recognize 26 individuals for their participation in the community security course. Hernandez, also a member of the public force, explained that they participated in the course to maintain a wholesome community and prevent drugs from entering there. 

“At least we’re succeeding in uniting the community,” Hernandez noted. “There is plenty of reason to celebrate.”


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With more requirements creating new expenses, as well as the economic situation straining spending, this year’s fiestas in Samara and Nosara raised considerably less funds for the communities. 

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