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Women in Costa Rica demand release of Nicaraguan prisoners

“Freedom for the women political prisoners!” shouted exiled Nicaraguan women on Thursday, November 25, during the march commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Dozens of women, representing feminist organizations and their allies, gathered in the Costa Rican capital’s Central Park, the starting point of the march. They demanded an end to all forms of violence against women.

Other Nicaraguan feminist collectives in Costa Rica also raised their voices on behalf of all those who couldn’t go out and march in Nicaragua, due to the existing police state and the regime’s ruthless persecution of any critical voices.

“We feminist exiles in Costa Rica are manifesting our presence for the third consecutive year, expressing and making visible the human rights violations that women are suffering in our country,” stated Sadie Rivas, currently in exile in Costa Rica and a member of the “Pinolera” [regional nickname for Nicaraguans] Women’s Network.

The mobilization proceeded down San Jose’s Central Avenue, towards Costa Rica’s Supreme Court.  As they marched, the women chorused political slogans and messages of solidarity with women victims of gender violence. “We demand an end to the confinement and torture directed against the women political prisoners. We’re also marching to demand justice for the 66 femicides committed thus far this year in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a country where there’s no access to justice, a country where our lives don’t matter,” accused Heyling Marenco, a Nicaraguan exile and member of the Volcanicas Collective.

The  November 25 march concluded with the reading of two pronouncements: one from the families of Costa Rican femicide victims demanding justice for their murdered relatives; and the other from Nicaraguan women exiled in Costa Rica, reiterating their demand for the immediate release of all the political prisoners and denouncing the 66 femicides that have occurred in Nicaragua in 2021.

“We also want to shine a light on the negligence of the Ortega-Murillo regime, which has freed thousands of common criminals serving sentences for sex crimes. That sends a clear message to men and to society in general that the laws passed to protect women’s lives will not be enforced,” added Iris Barrera, a Nicaraguan exile in Costa Rica who belongs to the Las Rojas Collective in Costa Rica.

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