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September 18
13:39 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

On September 2nd, his Excellency Pedro Moore Ricardo, the Wihta Tara (Big Chief) of the Miskito people, inhabitants of the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, was crowned king in an official coronation ceremony at the historic St. John’s Cathedral, presided over by Anglican Bishop Phillip Wright.

While his status as royalty is largely symbolic, Moore Ricardo was chosen by over 386 communities of the Miskito Assembly to lead the nation of indigenous people that now occupies the north-eastern Coast of Nicaragua.

The acknowledged king of the Miskito people told the Reporter in an interview last week that he is in Belize because his Assembly wants him to forge and restore ties between our people who share a common heritage and common bloodlines.

In the 1700s, many Miskito Indians from Nicaragua were given the choice by the British government to settle in what was then British Honduras, and to assist in protecting Britain’s interests against hostile settlement attempts by Spain. They came to and settled in Belize.Moore Ricardo was first crowned in Bluefield, Nicaragua in October, 2017, but the Assembly of the Miskito people determined that his coronation to royal status be ratified in Belize because of the close connection between our people.

Currently the Miskito Indians are seeking autonomy, but Moore Ricardo explained that the relationship between his people and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is heavily strained, as the President seeks unlimited access to the land they occupy along the coast – which is rich in natural resources.

The Miskito King explained that his people once occupied the entire Mosquito Coast from Belize to the northern tip of Panama. In the last century, the Miskitians have intermarried, contributed to other races in five Central American countries and lost most of the land they once inhabited.

Today Nicaragua is home to many Miskitians who have held tight to their roots and culture and are interested in preserving their land and way of life indefinitely.

According to Ricardo, Belize was once considered a close friend and ally of the Miskito people. According to the Miskitian annals, Nicaragua once came to Belize’s rescue after the Spaniards and Baymen infiltrated a few of Belize’s indigenous communities and held the people captive. Belize requested help from Nicaragua and the Miskitians responded by rescuing the prisoners and returning them to their respective indigenous communities and leaders.

“All we want,” said the King, “is to rekindle our friendship with Belize.”

King Ricardo was unable to meet with Belizean leaders during his visit but did make media rounds in the hope of raising awareness of his people’s plight.

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