Dear Roberto Clemente,
Driving through Managua today might not bring up memories of destruction and death for most Nicaraguans, the younger generations having no recollection of an event they did not live through. Regardless of this, another Managua stood where the new one exists, one that was totaled in a matter of hours after a devastating earthquake. As the ground shook, so many innocents, lacking basic human necessities, were killed, and among the rubble of destroyed buildings, Nicaraguans found only despair in their now hopeless country. Some fled the country and sought refuge with their fellow nations, but the poorest and most affected were forced to remain amidst the pain and ruin.
What does the earthquake of 1972 in Managua have to do with what is happening today in Puerto Rico? When Nicaraguans faced hunger, death, shortage, and displacement, you were able to extend your hand in a gesture of kindness and love. You, the promising jewel and pride of Puerto Rico, gave everything you could to the people across the ocean who you had only seen through your television screen, the people who meant nothing to you. It wasn’t enough that you sent loads of supplies to the devastated Nicaragua, for when you thought the supplies were not reaching those who needed it the most, you boarded a plane with the plan to see them all the way into the hands of those suffering. It was then that the world lost the baseball legend Roberto Clemente, the 3,000 hits player, the US marine, the father and husband.
Your sacrifice will not be forgotten, and your death will be remembered and honored. It is now, when Puerto Rico is suffering, that we Nicaraguans shall start to repay our debt. We will extend our hands in a gesture of kindness and love, giving all we can to our friends across the sea. Now that Puerto Ricans are hungry, dying, lacking basic resources and homes, we will step up to the plate. It will be our time to bat, to demonstrate that your sacrifice was not in vain and that your death taught us a valuable lesson. We will offer our help and love to those suffering and the undying support of a nation forever grateful for your kindness in our despair.
Con Amor Latino,
Una Nicaragüense que no olvida
-Maria Velasquez Soler