By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MANAGUA, January 22, 2008 ( –  Bishop Albelardo Mata of the Nicaraguan town of Estelí is urging the Nicaraguan government to move forward with its investigation of nine feminists who are accused of covering up the rape of a young girl while using her pregnancy to promote abortion.

“One can’t think about a nation when we citizens don’t respect the laws, nor have an idea of what is fundamental, which in a nation is the Constitution,” the Bishop told the Managuan daily La Prensa.  “And we see this Constitution trampled upon, reduced, amended in an incoherent manner in itself, and that we can’t go on forever manipulating the fundamental law.”

Denying that he was trying to destroy anyone, the bishop clarified that his goal was “simply that justice will shine in the nation, and that justice will be done in this Rosita case, which has been so worn-out, and the greatest victim of all of this has been the girl herself, raped, permanently abused.  As a mother her rights were violated, murdering her first child, all of this in a silence of people that supposedly were responsible for supporting the defense of the life of this girl.”

Bishop Mata is referring to the case of “Rosita” (as she is known by the press, to protect her identity), a girl who was impregnated at the age of nine by her stepfather, Francisco Fletes.  In 2003, when the pregnancy was discovered in Costa Rica, feminists connected to the Women’s Network Against Violence helped Fletes to escape authorities and return with his family to Nicaragua, where “Rosita’s” pregnancy was used as a “hard case” to promote the decriminalization of abortion.

In a 2003 interview, feminist Marta Maria Blandón admitted that she knew Fletes was accused of the rape when she helped him escape Costa Rica. After bringing Fletes and his stepdaughter to Nicaragua, the Women’s Network Against Violence procured a secret abortion for the girl and disposed of the body of the fetus, preventing genetic testing to determine the paternity of the child.  A Costa Rican man was falsely accused of the rape and spent months in prison.

After it was revealed that “Rosita” was pregnant again in 2007, her mother revealed that Fletes was the father, and further testing based on genetic evidence retained in Costa Rica in 2003 revealed he was also the father of the first child as well.  Interviews with neighbors and others in local press sources indicated that the Network feminists knew what was happening, but attempted to conceal it.

Not long after Fletes’ conviction, in November of last year prosecutors received a formal complaint from the Nicaraguan Pro Human Rights Association (ANPDH), and several members of the pro-abortion Women’s Network Against Violence were questioned by police.

However, international feminist groups began a letter-writing campaign to protest the investigation, claiming it was “political terrorism” and revenge by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife for an earlier campaign against him over accusations of sexual abuse against a relative, a scandal that shook his party in the late 1990s. The government seems to have done little to further the investigation since that time.

We don’t have anything to do with the presidential couple, in any way,” Bishop Mata told La Prensa.  “This was a determination that was made at the level of the (prosecutorial) team, the directives were consulted and the executive team was told, proceed, investigate well what you are going to do and put it into conformity with the laws of the country.”

Contact Information:

Embassy of Nicaragua in the USA
  1627 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20009
  Telephone: (202) 939-6570
  Fax: (202) 939-6542
  Consulate Emails:
  Email: [email protected]
  Email: [email protected]
  Email: [email protected]
  Email: [email protected]

Nicaraguan Embassies in Other Countries:

Related coverage:

Recent three-part series on “Rosita” case:
  Part I:
  Part II:
  Part III:

Human Rights Group Files Charges Against Nicaraguan Abortion Lobby

Pro-Abortion Feminists Subpoenaed in Nicaragua Rape Coverup Investigation

Man Behind Effort to Legalize Abortion in Nicaragua Gets 30 Years for Step-Daughter’s Rape