Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Approved by US President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Week celebrated the contribution of Latino Americans and Hispanics to American society. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the weeklong celebration to a month, being from September 15 through to October 15 each year, and now referred to as National Hispanic Heritage Month. The reason for these specific dates is that September 15 is the anniversary of the independence of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, all five of which declared independence in 1821. Moreover, Mexico has its Independence Day celebrations of September 16, with Chile and Belize on September 18 and September 21 respectively.

While National Hispanic Heritage Month is a US-made celebration, it serves as a reminder of Nicaraguans who have made an international impact in a number of fields. In the world of entertainment, Nicaraguan-born Barbara Carrera has gained a reputation as a respected actress and artist. Her artistic works include portraits of Hollywood stars including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, while her film achievements include her role as Fatima Blush, the ‘Bond girl’ in Never Say Never Again for which she received a Golden Globe award nomination. Other films she has featured in include The Island of Dr. Moreau, Condorman, Tryst, and Embryo, as well as in more than twenty television series.

Social and Human rights advocate Bianca Jagger, is arguably one of Nicaragua’s most famous exports. Born in Managua and educated in France at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, she currently serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Council of Europe, as well as being the founder and chairperson of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and a member of Amnesty International USA’s Leadership Council. She is an accomplished speaker and writer on issues of human rights. However, her name cannot be mentioned without a reference to the fact that she was the first wife of the lead singer of The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger.

Nicaraguans have made their mark in the sporting world with World Champion boxers including José Alfaro, Rosendo Alvarex, Alexis Arguello and Adonis Rivas, and Major League Baseball players including Tony Chévez, Oswaldo Mairena, Profirio Altamirano and Devern Hansack. Football stars include Armando Collado, Denis Espinoza and Wilber Sanchez. Nicaraguan Olympic Gold Medalists include Steven López (Taekwondo) and Claudia Poll (swimming), with Silver Medalists including Silvia Poll (swimming) and Mark López (Taekwondo).