Daniel Ortega, declared persona non grata by Nicaraguan feminists

Posted on October 25, 2008


An open letter to Daniel Ortega and the Attorney General of the Republic of Nicaragua is circulating in protest of the persecution of feminists and civil organizations of Nicaragua.

Please read the letter and sign it and circulate it among your friends and contacts.




To:  Men and women who are defenders of human rights the worldwide


For months we have witnessed with indignation the development of the participation of the present government of Nicaragua, in cahoots with the office of the Attorney General of the Republic, in a campaign of persecution and disparagement directed with special cruelty, against the feminists and women’s organizations that have distinguished themselves nationally and internationally in the defense of human rights of women and female children. You are personally and directly responsible for this campaign and the consequences that it has already had and can bring about in the future.

We are stunned by the levels of disrespect for the law to which your actions have stooped. Violating the most basic principle of due process, investigations go on for months, sometimes more than a year, without any accusations being made and without the suspects being informed.

Inexistent crimes are invented, such as the “triangulation” of resources and arbitrarily they have tried to relate these criminal acts without any cause whatever. What today they are calling “triangulation” is nothing more than an absolutely legal and usual practice with regard to cooperation, from which the Sandinista government itself has benefited in the past and which consists in developing initiatives for cooperation that encompass different actors and actions which share the same objectives.

At the same time, all the state resources are utilized to disseminate these lies in the media and they try to silence the voice of those who do not join in this campaign by closing down the media and pursuing those responsible.

All this cannot be hidden. On the contrary, it gives evidence to the fact that the purpose is to silence the dissident voices of these women, who, exercising their rights, call for a more just and democratic society and have been working to that end for decades. Many of them fought next to the thousands of Nicaraguans (both male and female) who overthrew an ignominious dictatorship and do not want to resuscitate despotism, repression, and the annulment of judicial, legislative and electoral powers which now draws Nicaragua closer and closer to a condition similar to that experienced during the dictatorship of Somoza.

The crime of these feminists is well known both nationally and internationally. It has been to believe the testimony of an abused woman, to take a stand against violence, incest, impunity, the cult of an individual, in sum – to put human rights before the false loyalties demanded of them, to believe in their principles, to stand up against the haughty and overbearing even when it emanates from the President of the Republic.

The current harassment campaign is not just your personal revenge, Mr. Ortega. It also represents an imperious need in your calculations for absolute control over the state and the society of Nicaragua. The movement of women and feminists is a voice of denouncement against your dictatorial methods, a voice that will not be silenced because it does not fear you.

We are exceedingly concerned at the use of slander and irrational harangue as a way to incite the followers of your regime to act with anonymity and impunity, which they know ahead of time will be guaranteed.

The attacks on the homes of some of these feminists, the dissemination of defamatory messages accusing others of being traitors, the assault groups commanded by political figures of the official party attacking the opposition, cause us to fear for the integrity of these feminists and all people in Nicaragua who exercise their legitimate right to dissent.

Facing this situation, which calls for solidarity among the defenders of human rights the world over, the Costa Rican organizations and persons signing below:

  1. Demand a stop to the persecution of members of the Movimiento Autonomo de Mujeres, the Red de Mujeres Contra la Violencia, the Venancia Group and all the organizations of the civil society and of international cooperation which are arbitrarily being harassed by you.

  1. We repudiate the fact that you and alleged individuals are making use of power of the positions you occupy to pursue those who are in any way opposed to you.

  1. We hold you personally responsible for the security and the integrity of our feminist companions whom, from your positions of power, you have exposed to violence.

  1. We demand that the judicial powers follow the laws, transparent and free of political pressures and, therefore, immediately stop the practice of harassment to which it is subjecting the members of organizations of defenders of human rights.

  1. As defenders of human rights, we declare Daniel Ortega and the members of his government persona non grata in our countries, and we will request of our authorities that this initiative be officially accepted.

  1. We support the petitions posed by various social movements, networks and legally constituted organizations of the Nicaraguan society, which denounce before national and international public opinion and entreaties of the United Nations regarding human rights, the persecutory actions unfurled by the government of Nicaragua under the direction of the President of the Republic Mr. Daniel Ortega Saavedra.

  1. As defenders of human rights, we demand that the governments of Latin America publicly declare themselves against these facts at the next XVIII Chiefs of State and Government [meeting], which will take place in El Salvador this coming 28, 29 and 30 October, and that they demand that Mr. Ortega cease the repression against the defenders of human rights.

Latin America, 14 October 2008


The Undersigned


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