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TEXT: RELIGIOUS LEADERS’ LETTER TO PRESIDENT ALEMAN

Click here for the 2/2/01 NCC News Story About Dorothy Granada

January 12, 2001
Honorable President Arnoldo Aleman
Managua, Nicaragua

Dear President Aleman:

For twenty years, aid organizations, economic development agencies, faith-based organizations, human rights groups, education promoters, and medical teams from around the world have formed partnerships with Nicaragua to rebuild its economic, social, and religious institutions. The tangible and intangible contributions of these groups have aided the transition to democracy in Nicaragua and have produced valuable connections between Nicaragua and the world community.

Actions of the Aleman administration to discredit one such organization, Ayuda Obrera Suiza, to close the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative in Mulukuku, and to deport an international health worker, Dorothy Granada, are the most recent in a series of actions against international partners. Prohibitive duty on contributed goods, harassment of non-governmental organizations and their staff, and reckless accusations against people who work tirelessly on behalf of Nicaragua’s poorest people give rise to grave concerns for us. The current climate of intimidation of non-governmental organizations is unacceptable. Our solidarity with the people of Nicaragua continues to guide us in our advocacy efforts and we are dedicated to supporting strong civil society engagement in Nicaragua.

Given the recent attention on Nicaragua in international fora due to its consideration for acceptance into HIPC, Nicaragua can ill afford the erosion of trust and cooperation that threatens its partners.

Dr. Aleman, as representatives of faith-based and non-governmental organizations working in partnership with Nicaraguan civil society, we urgently request the following:

-Allow the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative and Clinic to resume operation;

-Fulfill the government’s obligation to provide heath services to Mulukuku;

-End efforts to deport Dorothy Granada;

-Be a responsible steward of contributed resources;

-Uphold the climate of openness to international partnership;

-Stop all unwarranted harassment of aid workers;

-Implement a policy and take actions to promote cooperation with the non-governmental organizations that are working for the development of the Nicaraguan people.

Respectfully, we wish you and the people of Nicaragua a year of grace and peace.

Ms. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Esq.
Director of the Washington Office and
Associate General Secretary for Public Witness
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Marie Dennis
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Dr. Gustavo Parajon
President
CEPAD (Concilio de Iglesias Evangelicas Pro Alianza Denominacional)
Managua, Nicaragua

Dr. Benjamín Cortés Orochena
Secretary General
CIEETS (Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teologicos y Sociales)

Reverendo Miguel Tomas Castro
Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel
San Salvador, El Salvador

Dra. Noemy Espinoza
Comunidad Cristiana Mesoamericana
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Nadine L. Monn
Consulting Specialist
Latin American/Caribbean Office
Church of the Brethren

Janet G. Chisholm
Interim Co-Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director
Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Mary H. Miller
Executive Secretary
Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Reverend David Vargas
Executive for the Latin American & Caribbean Global Ministries
United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ

Rev. Eleanora Giddings Ivory
Director
Washington Office
Presbyterian Church USA

cc: The Honorable Alfonso Ortega, Ambassador
Embassy of Nicaragua
Ingeniero Jose Bosco Marenco Cardenal, Ministro de Gobernacion (Internal Affairs)
Licenciada Mariangeles Arguello, Ministra de Salud (Health)
Dr. Benjamin Perez Fonseca, Procurador de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights)
Dr. Enrique Chavarria, Presidente de la Sala Penal del Tribunal de Apelaciones
de Managua (Appellate Court)
U.S. Ambassador Oliver Garza, U.S. Embassy in Managua

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