Asylum in Nicaragua
In October of 2009, my husband was deported from EEUU, after applying for asylum there. (Our story is a long and personal one, which I refuse to share with strangers online, but it is a unique case). Two people I have befriended do know my story, but like most asylum applicants I do not feel our case in totality is something that should be discussed until it has found resolution. In my naivety, I tried to create a blog on Nica Living about our experiences in Nicaragua, and it turned into this:
Since I realized there was a pathology within a few regular members of that site residing in an enclave of North Americans, whose chief desire in life is to no longer be called a "gringo" but be considered a "Nica;" I realized I probably should take this information to another site.
Frankly, I find the hypocrisy of the people at Nica Living, who make xenophobic assumptions about why a Salvadoran would need asylum a bit disgusting based on what I've read about each of them, but it did explain their behavior which was less than stellar. Not one of these people knows who we are, or anything about our case, but they have speculated an array of Hispanic-hating theories. As a Latina, I find their xenophobic interpretations vulgar. So, after accusations that I was Peter Christopher (in drag) and several people emailing me Peter's side of the battle between Phil Hughes and him, I decided to look him up. What I found was a wealth of emails by the same people who lambasted me in the posts above. And I began to understand why Phil Hughes, owner of Nica Living, and his humorous sidekick, Jon Berger (Nicareal) were allowing friends to hijack my blogs, and admonishing me for defending myself. First, it did not make sense that Phil and I appeared to agree politically, (albeit I thought he was a bit extreme and often sounded like the leading edge of lunacy in socialism) and yet he took offense and found our application for asylum "boring."
I have always understood the foundation of socialism to include humanitarianism, and his attitude reflected none of that. So, I asked myself why he seemed to take an immediate dislike to me, and upon reading Peter Christopher's blogs, it became extremely apparent. 1) Maybe he HAD concluded I was his old nemesis. 2) This wasn't about an ideology, it was about my statements regarding disgust over older North American men who exploited young women in Latin America. I concluded these folks were either living by osmosis, or had lived such morally bankrupt lives that they felt it was honorable to humiliate the widow of Ken Kinzel that I read about in one of Nica Living's blogs:
When I read the same people assaulting this widow's reputation, I concluded it wasn't something I had done, it was a sickness, weak people who possibly had envy or demons controlling their thinking process. And I observed the same names in so many posts that I read assassinating others characters. So I left that site and moved on.
I wanted to convey the process we have experienced, so here is what I've learned about this process:
No. 655 LEY DE PROTECCIÓN A REFUGIADOS 9 de Julio del 2008 describes the asylum procedures in Nicaragua.
During this process, it is crucial that the family members call CEDAP/UNHCR immediately.
It is likely my husband will be released on Thursday or Friday, because he is only held for 7 days during this process.
- Nicaragua is very proud on their new Ley 655 of 2008 and they certainly have the right to be, because it is a very humane procedure. They really don't want any bad publicity regarding their asylum process.
- UNHCR is monitoring the process and applicants all the way
- 95% of all applicants are given asylum in Nicaragua
- They grant asylum to almost everybody. In 2009 asylum was given to 300 Columbians of which was said that a great deal of them were FARC fighters.
- My husband is already in DME's ACNUR monitored detention facility, that means he is not suspected anymore of being in the country illegally.
- DME is already working on checking his story. He's being interviewed. He's only being held because that is the procedure. It is a precaution to prevent the applicant of giving instructions to witnesses, family members or anybody else that could support his (possibly fake?) story. For the same reason he is not allowed to call anybody without supervision. An attaché of the Nicaraguan embassy in El Salvador might already be doing some footwork.
- My husband has a valid passport, a place to stay in Managua and a phone number, so if DME needs more information he is easily accessible.
- If during the short period that he is detained, the investigators of his case conclude that he is a political risk to Nicaragua and the DME's advice will be to deny asylum, he will be let go immediately too.
- His USA wife is seeking residency in Nicaragua (and DME knows this). Nicaragua likes (the money of) US residents.
- To be granted asylum, you first have to be recognized as refugee. If my husband receives the refugee status but is denied asylum after all, he is still allowed another 12 months in the country to seek legal admission into another country (Art. 9c) with or without the help of the Nica government. They will never send him back to El Salvador, the law is prohibiting this...and...The applicant is still allowed the right to appeal too (free legal services).
And I want to sincerely thank the person who gave me all of this information. It is one of the reasons this site is valuable, to answer and address the concerns of people who may be enduring a stressful time during their process of trying to enter Nicaragua.
I hope by me quoting this information, I can help another person with similar concerns. As I said, this process seems like one of the most compassionate ways of dealing with refugees and asylum applicant that I've seen. And if my husband were not granted asylum, I would feel that we have been treated with dignity and fairness, thus far. If anything changes, I will keep posting and explain the conclusion of this process.