Nicaraguans seek refuge for a chance to live — not simply comfort


From: Dora Pelley
Fountain City

It has been a while since I wrote to you about the situation in my country, Nicaragua. Now, I share with you my thoughts on Nicaraguans who have escaped their home country before they were thrown in jail, disappeared or turned up dead. You see, in Nicaragua if you protest the current Ortega-Murillo government, you are in trouble; if you don’t speak up, the government leaves you alone. If you want to express your views or concerns, you are marked as a “terrorist” and thrown in jail or just suddenly disappear. 


The Ortega-Murillo government advertises that everything is “normal,” but if this was the case, why do Nicaraguans continue to leave?

There are hundreds of Nicaraguans that have been forced to leave the country and have escaped to Honduras, Costa Rica, Spain, the U.S. and Canada, not like other people trying to cross borders and come into this country, or those simply looking for a way to make a better life for themselves — Nicaraguans are literally running to SAVE THEIR LIVES.

I have a friend who actually left his family behind in Nicaragua in a protection home while he came to this country escaping from the threats of government officials. He was “on the list” to be caught and thrown in jail, he shared with me. His family had to be in a protection home in Managua because if they can’t get him, they can harm the family.

Right now, we have many refugees in this country who are seeking asylum for refugee status. They are finding themselves in detention centers throughout different states, hoping and praying that they will not be deported and sent back to Nicaragua. Some have been sent back and the Ortega-Murillo government has taken them straight to jail as soon as they landed, where they are now facing tortures and violations of human rights. The Civic Nicaraguan Association has been formed in Washington, D.C., to help Nicaraguans seeking asylum in the U.S. for safety reasons. The association is raising money for these refugees because once the U.S. government grants them asylum and they are released from detention centers they have nowhere to go — no food or work. Many Nicaraguan volunteers who have had legal status in this country and have been here since the first war have been helping these refugees by donating their time, providing transportation and translations, and assisting with many other needs that they have. The Civic Nicaraguan Association has been successful in assisting with the process of helping Nicaraguans gain refugee status and has been victorious in a few cases, but much more work needs to be done yet to help others.

I am working directly with a Nicaraguan friend who started a nonprofit organization by grandmothers (AbueNica) and who is very involved in this cause in the Washington, D.C., area. My friend has asked me to help her recruit funds to continue the work of helping Nicaraguans gain emergency asylum status, as well as financially assisting Nicaraguans in other countries until it is safe for them to return home without fear of being put in jail, tortured or even killed. If you find it in your heart possible to support this great cause, I personally will send the money to this association to continue to pay for legal fees, transportation, homes, food and many other needs for these refugees in whatever country they are now in.

As a Nicaraguan and citizen of the United States, I pray to God that we never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy in this country and are thankful that we don’t have to escape to another country, seeking asylum to simply live.

May God bless your generous donations. Every dollar donated by this community has gone to help many people in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Relief Fund has helped more than 20 individuals and raised close to $5,000 through the account at Merchants Bank, the “NICARAGUAN RELIEF FUND.” My goal is to raise $10,000 to continue to meet others’ needs as they arise. I have volunteered my time and gasoline to send the money to the most needy through different, safe means. It has been a true blessing and privilege for me to lead this effort and very healing, as well, to help the pain and concern I feel for my fellow Nicaraguans. I LOVE MY COUNTRY AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE A PIECE OF MY HEART IN NICARAGUA, even if my home is here in the United States.

Peace to you all and thank you for your generous support.


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