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Central American University - UCA  
  Number 284 | Marzo 2005
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Nicaragua

NICARAGUA BRIEFS

Nitlápan-Envío team

BLOODY EVICTION: WHO’S AT FAULT?
A group of squatters took over about ten hectares of land on the outskirts of Chinandega on February 23, but were promptly evicted by the Police. Several police officers and dozens of squatters were hurt and three died: the leader of the occupation, who is an FSLN activist, a woman and a youth. Daniel Ortega blamed President Bolaños, the minister of government and the National Police for directly ordering what he called the “executions.” Police Commissioner Edwin Cordero responded that Ortega’s declarations were “irresponsible” while the President’s office held political groups—clearly alluding to the FSLN—responsible for fomenting the invasion of private lands.

An investigation conducted by the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center (CENIDH) demonstrated that the Police used excessive force. Nicaragua’s property problems—caused mainly by confiscations in the eighties, indemnifications in the nineties and unfulfilled promises to veterans on both sides of the war—are still largely unresolved. Days after the squatters had been dislodged, all of the country’s agricultural associations—Sandinista and non-Sandinista alike—requested that the Police defend private property, within the framework of the law, claiming that they felt threatened. They did, however, recognize that the country’s profound social inequalities are at the root of the problem.


US KEEPS PRESSURING NICARAGUA TO DESTROY ALL ITS SAM-7S
In late February, interim US Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Rose Likins visited Nicaragua to lean on its army to destroy the over 1,100 shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles known as SAM-7s it still has. Over half of that stockpile was destroyed in 2003, and the army is willing to destroy more, but wants to keep 400 to assure its defense capability. The US government argues that these weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and endanger civilian aviation around the world, even though the army has them warehoused under strict security measures.

During her visit, Likins confirmed that President Bolaños had unilaterally promised President Bush he would see to it that all the missiles are destroyed. The army believes that the real US worry is not terrorists but the fear that, despite its impeccable constitutional behavior over the past decade and a half, the army would resume its loyalty to the FSLN were the once-revolutionary party ever to win the presidency again.

In December, the FSLN-PLC legislators passed a new weapons law that, among other dispositions, establishes that any future destruction of military weaponry must be endorsed by at least 56 of the 91 National Assembly members. President Bolaños vetoed the law, but the legislators rejected the veto in February. Likins’ visit was thus also an attempt by the US to break this legal stranglehold by lobbying the PLC and pressuring the army.

DORA MARÍA TÉLLEZ DENIED US ENTRY
The US State Department denied an entry visa to Sandinista Renovation Movement president Dora María Téllez in mid-February, citing the Immigration and Naturalization Law’s categorization of terrorist activities. Téllez requested the visa to take her seat as a visiting professor of Latin American Studies at Harvard University. She denounced the action and requested legal protection, considering the charge a violation of her human rights that endangered her security and integrity, and plans to take legal action to get the US government to retract its accusations.

BISHOPS SAY THERE ARE “6 GENDERS”
After five years of tug of war with reactionary forces, the women’s Equal Rights and Opportunities bill suffered another setback when the Nicaraguan Bishops Conference rejected it again. Among other criticisms, the bishops claim the bill “is designed to impose the radical gender ideology of the United Nations and other international organizations” and promote abortion and lesbianism. Exhibiting their ignorance of the very concept of gender, the bishops stated that the term gender as employed in the law “perverts the essence of man and woman, denying the natural differences between the sexes, substituting masculine and feminine genders with six genders: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and undifferentiated.”

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