November 26, 2008
Message protesting harassment of activists and feminists in Nicaragua
Dear Señor Presidente Daniel Ortega Saavedra,
We are writing because we are outraged about reported human rights abuses in Nicaragua, the repression of feminist organizations, including the Autonomous Women's Movement. We urge you to put an immediate halt to police and government harassment of Nicaraguan activists who are exercising their legitimate and essential right to dissent and oppose harmful and oppressive government policies.
On October 16, 2008 Vilma Nuñez and the staff of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) appeared at an investigative hearing before a Ministry of Government prosecutor. They were met by a crowd of Sandinista government supporters who attacked them both physically and verbally. Police present on the scene refused to intervene.
It is particularly disturbing to hear of such blatant abuse of dissident activists by the Sandinista-led Nicaraguan government. Mr. Ortega, you once participated in one of this hemisphere's most inspirational revolutions for social and economic justice. Now, your government has turned the gains of the Nicaraguan people's revolution on their head.
Women, who were once told to wait in line for their post-revolutionary freedom, are now told by one of their former guerrilla commanders that they are criminals if they choose to save their lives through medically necessary abortions or simply exercise their right to control their own bodies. You have chosen to sacrifice the health and lives of Nicaraguan women for the political support of Catholic Church leaders and heirs to the fortunes of Anastacio Somoza. We call on your government immediately to end the repression of feminist activists and instead to take action to advance the fight for women's equality.
Radical Women is an international socialist and feminist organization that advocates for the rights of women and of all oppressed people. We are deeply concerned about the protection of those who demonstrate irrepressible courage in dissenting against unjust and inhumane government policies.
Radical Women, United States Section
cc: Aminta Granera Sacasa, Head of the National Police
Dr. Julio Centeno Gómez, Attorney General
Ambassador Arturo Jose Cruz Sequeira, Embassy of Nicaragua
Campaña 28 de Septiembre
Centro de Investigaciones de la Comunicación (CINCO)
Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)
Comunicación e Información de la Mujer (CIMAC)
Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres (MAM)