Panama City, Panama
The Asociación de miskitus nicaraguences en Panamá is an association of Nicaraguan immigrants living in Panamá. Its President is Eduardo Renal. In 2019 the President of the Pro-Moskitia Foundation provided funds and assisted in the formation of this association. In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the situation of undocumented Miskitus in Panamá deteriorated. Many lost their jobs and the government threatened the expulsion of all refugees from Nicaragua. In 2020 the Foundation provided funds to assist the association in its work among Miskitu refugees living in Panamá.
In June and July 2019 the President of the Foundation traveled to Panama City, Panama twice to help form the Asociacion de miskitus nicaraguences en Panama City, Panama. This is an association of Miskitu refugees. The association originated in a Moravian Church in a barrio of immigrants called San Miguelito, outside of Panama City. Ten persons volunteered to help organize the fraternal association and four directors (two of them women) were elected to form the Board. The total cost of incorporation of the association is $1,100 of which the Pro-Moskitia Foundation pledged to provide about $750.
Rev. Peter met with the Moravian Church, preached there on several occasions and then met with anthropologists at the university in Panama City. The faculty of the History Department encouraged Melesio to do a study of miskitu immigration to Panama. He made contact with two Catholic priests, one of whom is in charge of indigenous ministry for the Archdiocese of Panama. He attended a meeting of the organization of Kuna indigenous people who are native to Panama. He and his delegation were well received by the Kuna leaders who are potential allies.
There are about 5,000 Nicaraguan refugees in Panama, 4,000 of who are Miskitus. They are mostly undocumented immigrants. The men work in construction and as night watchmen. The women do cleaning and cooking and are housewives. These people are not legally recognized as refugees and the incoming President of Panama has vowed to expel them.
In October 16-29, the Foundation's President again traveled to Panama City, Panama to meet with the organizers of a Miskitu cultural organization. During his visit, he coordinated a presentation to a multicultural organization at the University of Panama on October 23 about the history and current situation of the Miskitu diaspora in Panama, Costa Rica and the United States. Also in October the Foundation provided $300.00 to the Asociacion de miskitus nicaraguences en Panama to help them incorporate their association.
The President of the Foundation intends to return to Panama in January 2020 to attend a conference of on indigenous religions along with Miskitu representatives from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.