The difficult situation of the press in Nicaragua even affects the traditional burning of Año Viejo dolls

The difficult situation of the press in Nicaragua even affects the traditional burning of Año Viejo dolls

The traditional dolls in the form of old people that represent the Old Year are already preparing to burn this December 31 in Nicaragua. It is a year, however, there is a difference: the stick figures were made with other materials because newsprint has practically disappeared in the country.

Among the materials with which the dolls are made is sawdust. Previously they were filled with newspaper, but the merchants indicate that, given the almost extinction of the sheets, they are forced to use other flammable products such as dry grass.

In Nicaragua the paper newspaper stopped circulating after the closure of the main media outlets in the country.

Luz Marina Duarte, a gunpowder merchant in Managua, assures that she has high sales expectations this December 31, when Nicaraguans come with their families to buy pyrotechnic material, but also the “old ones.”

Some sellers place nice messages on the dolls such as: “I sincerely wish you to talk less this year”, or “for those who couldn’t stand me this year, I’m sorry to say that next year will be worse”.

A group of dolls ready to be sold in shops in Nicaragua this December 30, 2022.

There are other “old” ones with messages alluding to the massive migration of Nicaraguans to other countries, mainly the United States. “I’m leaving, not because you stop me; I’m not going to the USA for work, I’m going as a tourist fleeing from lenders”, says a message placed on a tape on a doll.

The merchants do not mention the reason for the change in materials, however, they indicate that they use other components such as grass.

“We no longer use paper because it is rather harmful, while here, with the grass it catches fire faster, with the fire it burns wildly”, indicates Duarte.

The vendors say that before they made them with paper and cloth, but the smoke they generated was harmful to health, “but now that we fill them with grass they burn much better and people take them away faster.”

Some dolls have gunpowder inside, although they have a higher cost than the 20 dollars that is the cost of the original designs, which do not include explosives.

Ivania López is another gunpowder merchant in the Nicaraguan capital who ensures that the prices of the dolls “are favorable and are accessible within the reach of the consumer’s pocket.”

“Prices are almost the same as last year. The increase is small. It is not much that increased, ”says López.

López also confirms that this year dry straw was a good substitute for newsprint.

“Well, you know that the raw material we used, such as newspaper, is not available, but the straw is better used, the doll is more solid”, indicates the seller of the “old” that symbolizes 2022.

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