Repression of Women Once again a Weapon of War
Five participants in the forum “Women in resistance, in the face of repression” analyze the violence exercised by the state under the Ortega regime.
More than seven months after the civic rebellion of thousands of Nicaraguans, Daniel Ortega’s government has used different methods of repression to silence the popular explosion. Among the most serious are the abuses committed against women.
“They use the condition of being a woman to inflict harm,” declared Azahalea Solis, member of the Civic Alliance and one of the participants in the forum “Women in resistance in the face of repression”.
In the activity, organized by the platform De Humo [From Smoke] and transmitted over Facebook Live, five women who’ve had a role in the protests and have experienced the regime’s repression conversed about their experiences and about the challenges they’ve confronted in what they term the “state violence” against Nicaraguan citizens.
“The profoundly misogynistic nature of Daniel Ortega’s regime has been left completely exposed; if one reads his policy of reconciliation, it’s a system based on violence,” Solis added.
“Hate and scorn” for women’s lives
Ever since Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo took power, the feminist movements in Nicaragua have been denouncing the system they installed that “hates and scorns the lives and value of women.”
“It’s been the women who’ve stood up to the police with no other weapons than their arms and their voices,” Solis pointed out.
For her part, Wendy Flores, lawyer for the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center (Cenidh), affirmed that they’ve received 2,300 cases of human rights violations on a national level. These involve illegal detentions, threats, sexual aggression and other situations involving authorities, paramilitaries and people close to the government.
“The authorities aren’t capable of investigating, and there’s a kind of cover-up to protect the guilty,” asserted Flores. Despite the somewhat discouraging panorama for the victims of repression, she affirmed that the women will continue “resisting, until there’s a change” in the country.
“We hope it happens (a change). As a human rights organization and as women we believe that this has to change, so that there’s justice.”
“Undocumented” human rights violations
Tania Sanchez is the sister of Kisha Lopez – a trans woman who’s one of the regime’s political prisoners – denounced in the forum the human rights violations that her sister is suffering, as a victim of “trans-phobic people” in the penitentiary.
Kisha isn’t being treated in accordance with her gender identity. In fact, she remains in the “La Modelo” National Penitentiary System, a prison for men. She’s suffered rape attempts, and together with three other trans women political prisoners has been the recipient of insults from the guards.
“She’s told us that, no matter what, the others should respect her, since she’s always behaved in a manner worthy of respect,” Tania added.
Kisha is accused of terrorism because she opposes the government and has raised her voice against the regime. Victoria Obando, another trans political prisoner, has denounced from the penitentiary the taunts that the authorities of the penitentiary have subjected her to. In a letter that was disclosed several weeks ago, Obando declared that they made her strip naked and do sit-ups in front of her cellmates.
All of the panelists coincided in that aggression directed against women has increased in the last months of civic protests.
“You can’t discern whether the violence is for being a woman or for being a student. The Nicaraguan girls feel abused by the state, because there’s a countless number of aggressions that are only directed against the women. A whole bunch of situations have become more critical due to the state violence,” declared Viento, a university student who was one of the panelists.
Nevertheless, they also considered that it’s the right moment to reclaim the social struggles of the feminist movements that for more than a decade have denounced the state policies against women, such as the reform to Law 779 (law that penalizes violence against women).
“In the last years, we’ve been repressed and hindered in the exercise of our citizen’s rights. We hope that this November 25 the women’s mobilization will be respected, since historically we’ve gone out to march in commemoration of the Day to Oppose Violence against women,” stated Wendy Flores.