On 26 August, legal recognition as an association was withdrawn from 15 organisations, including the Colectivo de Mujeres de Matagalpa. Shortly before, the last remaining aid organisations like Oxfam had been banned. The gynaecological practice of the Colectivo, where women from the whole area are advised and treated free of charge, had to be closed, as well as their library, the largest publicly accessible library in Matagalpa, where many students and teachers study.
The current situation means permanent tension for them: Will the two buildings be cleared out the next morning? Will one of them be arrested? The arbitrary arrests also continue - and prison can mean torture. At the beginning of September, the conditions of detention of political prisoners became known after they were allowed to see their relatives for the first time for 15 minutes after 90 days in prison: They are only allowed to see daylight once a week, there is a permanent light in the cells, they have no blankets to cover themselves with, there is often only a hole in the floor for them to defecate, and necessary medication is administered without instructions. Most recently, an arrest warrant was issued for one of Latin America's most famous writers and former vice-president Sergio Ramírez. (Fortunately, he was in Spain at the time to receive the Cervantes Prize, the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world).
The women of the Colectivo are not giving up and have taken some measures to enable a continuation of their commitment. We are told that they still meet once or twice a week to discuss possible activities. Women continue to receive gynaecological treatment in remote villages. However, there is also the fear that the small local organisations will be deprived of the houses with the libraries.
More from the schwelle project partner the women's collective of Matagalpa here: Colectivo de Mujeres de Matagalpa