Nicaragua: Requiem for the Trains and Railways



Antigua Estación del Ferrocarril, Granada (photo: Bernard Gordillo)

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,

In a small village to the south of Managua lives a little boy, Oscar Matamoros, barely five years old. Every day, on the path he takes to get from his house to the school he attends, Oscar crosses over a very peculiar dirt road.

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Each time he arrives at the road, a sort of intersection, he stops and looks in both directions. And as far as his eyes can see, each time he has the same thought: Why are there no cars or horse carts on this road?

Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,

If Oscar were somewhat older, he would know, he would understand.

et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.

Nicaragua’s trains and the hundreds of miles of tracks that guided them disappeared around two decades ago, by government decree. In hindsight, this was nothing short of a tragedy.

Exaudi orationem meam;

But what if the trains and railways would have never disappeared?

ad te omnis caro veniet.

Oscar would be walking over train tracks most days of the week. He might even see the train pass by once in a while.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,

Oscar will wonder, instead of being perplexed by the empty and disused road, where is the train going? He might imagine himself on the train heading to a neighboring city, perhaps Managua, perhaps much further away.

Yet Oscar will never have the opportunity.

et lux perpetua luceat eis.

[N.B. This is not an official Department of State website or blog. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.]

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