A few recent tidbits
In the midst of all the desperation, Nicaraguan and international activists are doing what we can to bring awareness to the situation in Nicaragua. This past week, for example, Nicaraguan-born Bianca Jagger spoke before the US House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, offering her perspective on the country’s crisis, calling on both President Joe Biden and Pope Francis to show “greater firmness” against the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.
International organizations are also doing what they can to raise up the demand for freedom for political prisoners –a central and unified demand of the entire left-center-right spectrum of the anti-dictatorship and pro-democracy movement in Nicaragua:
How you can help
As the new year opens, the most urgent demand is for political prisoners' freedom and a Christmas/New Year without political prisoners. See below for how you can help amplify that demand. Knowing their liberation is highly unlikely in the short term, the most urgent need is, once again, financial support for prisoners and their families.
The number of political prisoners has grown significantly this year, while at the same time funding sources and donations have decreased.
Those of you on this list of '80s solidarity folks who have contributed to the in the past (thank you so much!), constitute the most significant source of support for 130+ families every month. (Of the now more than 235 political prisoners, 30 have specific individual sponsors, some 30 have families with sufficient funds to cover their needs, and around 35 are not yet receiving support because their families have not yet wanted to include them in the official list of political prisoners in the hopes they might get released before being formally charged. The fund supports the other 130.)
The common fund currently has enough money to cover January, but we desperately need to raise $11,000 to be able to cover February and March. Please give what you can! It is sooo appreciated by families who are trying to keep their incarcerated loved ones' spirits up. (This newsletter went out to more than just Nica Family Support. We do not collect this much. Yet.)
As always, the funds are distributed equitably to all families or political prisoners who request support, with a system to avoid duplications and make sure no one is left behind. The stipend of approximately $42 dollars a month in córdobas helps families of political prisoners pay for food, medicine and personal hygiene items as well as for transportation to be able to visit and take these items to their loved ones in prison.
Be an advocate and amplifier! We have seen that international public pressure does have some impact in terms of advancing political prisoners' rights. However, as noted above, even family members of political prisoners who are outside the country are having a harder and harder time advocating for their loved ones because of the heightened repression that includes reprisals against family members in Nicaragua. You can amplify their demands for freedom and for respect for their human rights while they are incarcerated. We are looking for folks who are on social media who are willing to post to your networks once a week (or as often as you feel comfortable) with news about Nicaragua and demands regarding the situation of political prisoners. We can help provide content and graphics. Please write to us if you are interested.
Calling on health workers! Soon the People's Health Network –a global network of grassroots health activists and medical personnel, NGOs and academic institutions from more than 70 countries– will be promoting a case study of political prisoner Dora María Téllez, former Nicaraguan Minister of Health. This online gallery of emblematic cases seeks to raise awareness and promote calls to action in the many PHM countries. Check out the site and become part of the campaign for Dora Maria and other health workers who are under attack.
Given the lack of mainstream press coverage of Nicaragua in English, the best way to stay up-to-date is to subscribe to The Dispatch, the weekly English-language news round-up published by Confidencial. Subscribe here, and if you can, donate or become a member, to keep independent Nicaraguan journalism alive and well.
This has been a heartbreaking year for Nicaraguans. Let's hope that next year brings better news. Meanwhile, the kind of grassroots solidarity and support each of us can provide helps more than we can know.
May you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season. Saludos and hopes that Nicaragua will once again be free, sooner rather than later.