Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo’s regime has just raised the level of their harassment against feminist movements, in a day of abuses that culminated on Monday with the expulsion from the country of feminist leader Ana Quiros.
Quiros is a Costa Rican and Nicaragua dual citizen who has lived in Nicaragua for more than 40 years – the entirety of her adult life.
Along with Quiros, three European women living in the City of Matagalpa for decades, were also cited by immigration without any explanation to appear on Monday at their offices, where they were held for hours and then had their permanent residency revoked.
Ana Quiros, Maria Jesus Ara, Beatriz Huber and Ana Ara responded voluntarily to the summons, but the authorities refused to allow them to be accompanied by lawyers or human rights defenders. Quiros arrived at ten in the morning, while the others were cited for two in the afternoon.
The Ara sisters are Spanish and Huber is Swiss, all had current permanent residency status. Quiros was born in Costa Rica, and has legally been a Nicaraguan national since February 1997. All are part of the national feminist movement that has criticized the repression of the Ortega regime and its responsibility for the death of at least 325 Nicaraguans.
Quiros was transferred at three o’clock in the afternoon to the cells of the El Chipote prison, and hours later she was taken to the Peñas Blancas southern border post, where she was received by Costa Rican authorities. This was confirmed by the president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), Vilma Nunez.
Last week the regime blocked activities of the feminist movement to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is held annually on November 25th.
In Managua, the Police refused to allow a peaceful march, while in Matagalpa, riot police interfered with the artistic carnival parade usually held to celebrate the “right to live without violence”. In order to achieve this they militarized the town, surrounded the headquarters of the Matagalpa Women’s Collective, as well as positioning themselves at the meeting point for the carnival to ward off people coming in from other towns and rural areas.
Quiros: “I chose to be Nicaraguan”
Before presenting herself at Immigration, Quiros offered a press conference in which she stated that “the dictatorship must be clear that we are going to continue raising our voices, saying strongly that we want a free homeland in which to live.”
“I chose to be Nicaraguan and I feel I have the right to demand that my rights be protected, to demand that in Nicaragua there be peace, justice and freedom, and to repudiate the abuses and arbitrariness that they have committed: the murders, the prison and the kidnapping of all those Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, who only want and are asking for a better Nicaragua, a Nicaragua where we all fit, where no one feels that they are above anyone else,” said Quiros.
Quiros explained that on Saturday she was notified by Immigration to come to their offices on Monday, although they did not indicate the reason. The same happened with the other three activists, who work with the Matagalpa Women’s Collective, founded in 1989.
This is the second time that a government tries to silence the critical voice of Quiros, who is a specialist in public health. In 2000, the administration of Arnoldo Alemán tried to strip Quiros of her Nicaraguan nationality, after she publicly pointed out the acts of corruption of the liberal party president.
“It is not easy for anyone to continue living in this country with so much injustice, with so much arbitrariness, with so much persecution. Nicaragua is a different country, but those who love it, like me, love it with more strength and depth… It is not a piece of paper that gives me my nationality, nor can it be taken from me by seizing my documents,” said the activist.
Vilma Nunez, of the Cenidh, lamented the expulsion of Quiros noting that the Ortega government has exceeded its intolerance against everything that annoys and bothers it. “Ana chose to be Nicaraguan, nationality is one of the most precious rights of the people, and the Ortega regime also wants to deny that right as it has so many other rights in a history of abuses that seems unstoppable,” criticized the human rights defender.
Denied an appeal process to protect her rights
Nuñez said that the citation of Quiros and the other three feminists “has no legal value because it did not state why they are being called in.”
She further noted that a resolution that affects any right of a Nicaraguan, “should not be carried out just because it occurred to the woman who badly governs this country” she said in reference to Murillo, “just because she woke up in bad mood”. For such matters, Nunez affirmed, “there are procedures.”
Nunez said that in order to revoke someone’s citizenship, a trial must first be held, which has not occurred in this case. “It is persecution directed against all those who support the demands of the Nicaraguan people.”
Nuñez added that Quiros tried to file an appeal to review the case in court in Managua, but she was not allowed to do so.
An act of arbitrariness
Juanita Jimenez, of the Autonomous Women’s Movement, said that “the citations are framed by the Government’s visceral hate speech against Nicaraguan feminism and their attempts to discredit us. It exposes the levels of viciousness and perversity that is at the forefront of State institutions.”
“It is an act of arbitrariness, an attack against feminism and in that context we are denouncing it. We are going to resist, we are going to fight and they are not going to shut us up,” said Jimenez, who together with Vilma Nunez accompanied Quirós at the press conference.
Jimenez further said that two of the foreign-born activists from Matagalpa have lived in Nicaragua for more than 30 years. “They came in the context of the (Sandinista) revolution.”
Expressions of solidarity and demands that Quiros’ human rights should be respected overflowed across social networks.
Before entering the Immigration Offices, Quiros was also accompanied by dozens of women, friends and human rights defenders, who embraced her, although at that time the possibility of deportation was still only a fear.
No immigration authority or foreign ministry official informed about the Quirós’ deportation, and the news was only heard a couple of hours before her expulsion, when the Costa Rican authorities broadcast the news that they were going to meet her at the border.
Ana Quiros was one of the first persons injured in the pension reform protests against the Ortega regime, which were held on April 18. The photo of Quiros with her bloodied white hair from a wound in the head and her injured hand went viral in social networks the same day. The attack further incensed and mobilized Nicaraguans who were fed up with the abuses of the regime. The Government went on to increase its brutal repression the next day with the first three fatalities of the massacre that followed.
“We are banishing evil,” said Murillo
Vice President Rosario Murillo has been confronted for decades by the feminist movements’ support for her daughter Zoilamerica Narvaez, who denounced Ortega in 1998 for 19-years of sexual abuse and harassment. At noon on Monday Murillo stated that her government has been gradually “banishing evil”, in the midst of the sociopolitical crisis that the country is undergoing.
“We have come, step by step, banishing evil, perversity, the diabolical attempts that sowed terror in Nicaragua, which aimed to fill us with hatred,” said Murillo in a message broadcast by government media.
“Nicaragua is a people that is advancing along paths of reconciliation with a culture of peace that is being promoted and will continue to be promoted throughout the country,” Murillo insisted. Her tone reflected the state of normality that the regime is attempting to impose after massacring at least 325 Nicaraguans, injuring more than 3,000, taking over 600 political prisoners, and driving tens of thousands into exile.
“When we say reviving, restoring ourselves, it is because we know, because we believe that the darkness that settled in our country, that darkness, those terrible and dark days, have passed,” said Murillo, thanking the Lord “for extinguishing” the diabolical darkness.”