Urgent Action in Support of Nicaraguan Feminists

Dear friends,

Please read the urgent condemnation letter to register support for the Nicaraguan feminists who've been targeted by their government for their support for reproductive rights and criticism of the shrinking democratic space in that country. If you'd like your name and organization to go onto the letter, please send it to petateras@justassociates.org. This kind of solidarity means an enormous amount to the Nicaraguan and Mesoamerican feminists gathered at the Forum.

This key action arose out of an Observatorio (Feminist Transformation Watch) at the America's Social Forum, where thousands of social justice activists and movements are gathered in support of an alternative path for the Americas as inequalities deepen, with organizations on the left concerned about land, water, the environment, healthcare, labor rights, repression and the financial crisis on Wall Street.

Women are numerous, diverse, and very visible at the Forum here in Guatemala City and the attack on Nicaraguan feminists is particularly complex, given the fact that Daniel Ortega's government is held up as an important symbol for the left's return to power in the region, alongside those of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Women at the Forum from all perspectives and backgrounds -- including the voices of older feminists who were par of revolutionary struggles like the Sandinistas in the 1970s and 1980s -- are questioning loudly whether any political agenda or movement can be called "left" or even "progressive" if it does not fully and unwaveringly support the fundamental rights of women, including all sexual and reproductive rights.

There is broad support for this important challenge from among women and men at the Forum and a concern that left agendas need to be clarified and refined to fully represent the people mobilized behind them - more than half of whom are women. At the same time, the Ortega government has mobilized many women to attend the Forum and actively challenge this perspective.

We urge you to share the information about Nicaraguan feminists and the call for support with all in your networks and send in your names to add to the growing global list in support of Nicaraguan women.

With all best wishes,

Lisa Veneklasen