Envío Digital
Central American University - UCA  
  Number 353 | Diciembre 2010




Envío team

On November 17, the nine bishops on Nicaragua’s Bishop’s Council released a message which stated, among other things, that “since the publication of our message last April, the social and political reality of Nicaragua has regrettably not improved, in fact some of the situations to which we referred continued to worsen. The ‘law’ paradoxically continues to be a mechanism to legitimate abuses and present as legal what is illegal; [it] seems to be increasingly an instrument to artificially legalize the power structures and personal ambitions; the “State” gives the impression of being a latticework of institutions at the service of individual and group interests. This whole situation has serious repercussions for the country’s economic development, a sustained solution to the major social problems and long-term stable governability. The moment the country is living through is becoming more complex given that the existing groups and parties are not managing to interpret the longings of a large part of the population and to collaborate constructively and responsibly in the dynamic of democracy.”

On November 25, International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, Amnesty International released a report on Nicaragua titled “Listen to their Voice and Act: Stop the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Girls in Nicaragua,” which is part of the “Demand Dignity” campaign. The report, based on interviews of over 300 raped young and adolescent girls, mothers of rape survivors and experts conducted in Nicaragua between 2008 and 2010, documents how Nicaraguan society stigmatizes the victims of sexual abuse and how sex is still a taboo subject, which means that the girls dare not denounce the terrible situation they go through. The report denounces the government of Nicaragua for its lack of a national plan to prevent rape and to protect and support the survivors.

Esther Major, AI researcher for Central America, said upon presenting the report that every day, many Nicaraguan girls suffer the horror of rape in silence to avoid risking the rejection they often suffer when they speak of what happened. “Nicaraguan justice should serve all people—not just those with money and power,” she said. “The government must send a clear message that sexual violence is never the fault of the rape victim; that perpetrators will be brought to justice and that survivors will be given the support they need.”

For a 2009 AI report titled “The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women’s lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized,” the researchers met with human rights organizations, medical professionals, members of the national assembly and the minister of health. Despite repeated requests, the National Assembly’s Commission on Women and both President Ortega and his government’s Institute for Women refused to meet the organization to discuss the law’s impact on girl children and women rape and incest victims. “Nicaragua’s Penal Code is a callous and cynical artifact of the political wheeling and dealing that took place in the country’s 2006 elections,” said Kate Gilmore, AI’s executive deputy secretary general, on her return from a visit to Nicaragua at the time. “Today it punishes women and girl children for seeking life-saving medical treatment and doctors for providing it.

On December 6, envío’s publishing deadline and the eve of Nicaragua’s greatest national fiesta, the “Gritería” in honor of Maria’s Immaculate Conception, some of the more than a thousand leaks from the US Embassy in Managua that came into Wikileak’s hands began to be seen in Nicaragua. They were published in Spain’s El País newspaper and made the rounds of the world’s media, as had the previous leaks. Although those first ones involved no extraordinary novelties, they did serve as a weapon of power in the December festivities and as one of the most succulent plates offered up at the Christmas parties.

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