The Nicaraguan Civic Task Force is the oldest and one of the most recognized organizations among those with systematic involvement in transnational civic engagement.
The organization was founded in 1986 for the purpose of facilitating civic engagement of Nicaraguans in the United States. Once the links with Nicaragua were unleashed during the 1990s, the Nicaraguan Civic Task Force has been building transnational spaces of civic engagement.
It currently has several innovative leaders, including Roberto Orozco as Chairman of the organization, and Nora Caldera Lopez as the executive director. Nora Caldera Lopez, the daughter of Nicolas Lopez Maltes, a prominent photographer, journalist, and activist and director of la Estrella de Nicaragua, personifies the transmission of values related to civic and political engagement from one generation to the following one. However, not many second-generation Nicaraguans are involved in organizations.
Nicaraguan immigrant organizations are constituted by first-generation immigrants for the most part. The second generation is more actively involved in a few students organizations, among which the most active one in South Florida seems to be the Nicaraguan Students Association at Florida International University.
During the social movement that contributed to the passage of NACARA, the Nicaraguan Civic task Force was involved, together with other Nicaraguan immigrant organizations, in the resolution of the status issue. And since then the organization has been involved in multiple educational and projects to promote civic participation.
The Nicaraguan Civic Task Force frequently invites former Latin American presidents and other political figures, Nicaraguan intellectuals and professionals as speakers for relevant issues of transnational interest: from democracy in Nicaragua to the possible effects of an earthquake.
It also has a yearly fundraising event, called Gala and it has systematically been involved in humanitarian projects, including their relatively recent initiative Angel for a Day.
There is consensus among Nicaraguan community leaders and members of the organizations that were interviewed that the whole social movement around the status issue brought Nicaraguans together as never before the passage of NACARA in 1997. From civic organizations such as Nicaraguan Fraternity, the Nicaraguan Committee of Poor Nicaraguans in exile, and the Nicaraguan Civic Taskforce, to professional organizations, and members of hometown associations and humanitarian organizations, many groups and organizations became widely involved in the status issue.
More recently, newly formed civic organizations in Miami have been convoking their members and other organizations to unite against the anti-immigrant social movements that have been effective in Arizona and elsewhere.
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* The author appreciates the interviews granted by the leaders of the organizations and some members during her research in South Florida and Nicaragua and the supporting logistics and materials provided by them.