Cristina, the Church, and Ciudad Juárez: A Survey of Women’s Issues in Latin America


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3 Responses to “Cristina, the Church, and Ciudad Juárez: A Survey of Women’s Issues in Latin America”

  1. eleiva Says:

    The ceiling wasn’t broken by Cristina or Michelle. Latin America has known for decades so many women in that presidential position, from Eva Peron (arguably) through Mireya Moscoso and Violeta Chamorro. All of them were either daughters or wives of political men. Which kind of takes the enthusiasm away…

    The Nicaraguan case you are mentioning is not about providing abortion to a 9-year old. Rosita, the little girl, was raped and got pregnant two years ago in Costa Rica, where her family lived at the time, and got an abortion (therapeutic abortion was not banned in Nicaragua at that time) with the help of Red de mujeres (the women’s organization). The girl blamed the rape on a young Costa Rican man who lived nearby, and the women activists supported that version, even though the youth didn’t have the STDs the girl was infected with. When they took Rosita to Nicaragua for her to get an abortion, they did so without allowing for a DNA analysis to help determine the identity of the rapist. Two years later, the same girl, already in Nicaragua with her family, became pregnant again. This time she accused her stepfather and said that he was the culprit in the first pregnancy as well. The stepfather fled, mumbling something about the girl loving him and inciting him to have sex with her, and that all this was because of his wife being jealous. The women activists were charged because they had allowed, with their actions, the sexual abuse to continue. I think they do bear responsibility as they supported the accusation of the Costa Rican youth because it was more convenient (politically) for them. Even at the time of the first pregnancy there were voices pointing at the stepfather, so those women have no excuse for not following through, at a time when they had the closest contact with the family of all institutions involved and had fullest access to the girl. How could they have overlooked this kind of relationships going on in the family? At least not taking a DNA sample of the fetus and having the abortion in secret, when it was legal? Are they qualified to be counselors, as they claimed?

  2. Elizabeth Jordan Says:

    Thanks for our first comment! I would just like to offer a follow-up to the Nicaraguan case. I am unclear why it would be politically convenient for the women’s rights activists to support the accusations against a random Costa Rican man as opposed to the girl’s stepfather. The Red de Mujeres historically has not chosen the option of most politically convenient, as evidenced by their leveling accusations against President Daniel Ortega on behalf of his stepdaughter. I would further argue that the responsibility for the investigation into the parentage of the first fetus lies with the Costa Rican police, not the Red de Mujeres; along those lines, I find it hard to justify charging them in Nicaragua in conjunction with an alleged crime committed in Costa Rica.

  3. eleiva Says:

    I think I know Red de mujeres well and I know their work in defending women’s rights. However, in this case they acted in the worst manner possible. See, Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica are regarded by locals in the same way as Latino immigrants in the USA: they do the hardest, lowest paid and most unpleasant jobs, yet they are subjected to the most harassment and most xenophobic treatment. There have been many cases of not just discrimination, but outright physical abuse and murder of Nicaraguan immigrants in Costa Rica. Human and migrant rights activists in Costa Rica has deplored the situation, yet it continues and recent laws have been adopted to support the harsh treatment of illegal immigrants. So, the family being Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica and the girl accusing a random neighbor, who of course was Costa Rican, fitted the most convenient, closest-at-hand pattern of decrying immigrant discrimination and the subaltern position of migrant workers in Costa Rica, who were subjected to harsh treatment, rape, etc. That’s why I say it was politically convenient – and Red de mujeres had no excuse in ignoring the information about the STDs. The accusations against Ortega was raised and largely sustained by his brave stepdaughter herself, when she found the strength to face the issue, and she was mostly supported (logistically and psychologically) by CENIDH and their head Vilma Nunez. Last, Costa Rican police was indeed investigating the rape, but against the permission of Costa Rican courts the girl and her family was taken with the help of Red de mujeres to get an abortion in Nicaragua, where Costa Rican police had no authority to follow up and when the abortion happened (in secret) it was already too late to even file an official international request; the voices raised in newspapers and random interviewed officials before the actual abortion insisting for a DNA test were ignored. The Costa Rican court didn’t give a permission for the family to leave because it insisted their presence was necessary for the trial, still, the youth was charged and briefly imprisoned, but subsequently exonerated of the crime. Even then on the outside it looked like the family wanted to leave the country to escape a possible scrutiny into the role of the stepfather, who was already suspected. And I don’t believe Red de mujeres were two years later charged in Nicaragua in conjunction with the first crime, they were actually charged with allowing the abuse to continue/take place on Nicaraguan territory, when, after the girl admitted the stepfather was the culprit after the second pregnancy, it was already clear it had happened. The girl and the family had been under the supervision and support of Red de mujeres for nearly a year after they reentered Nicaragua as they argued they could support them better than the government-run child services. It looks like they didn’t offer such a good support after all. I believe any social worker in the USA who does not detect abuse under their supervision, in a clear case of confirmed previous sexual abuse, would be charged.
    It is good to divulge information on human rights in Latin America, however, make sure you know the cases well because support for questionable cases may backfire…

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