Belgians with Ties to Nicaragua Call for Release of Political Prisoners

“We have clearly verified that you turned your back on the ideals for which we supported you in the past”

“We have clearly verified that you turned your back on the ideals for which we supported you in the past”.

21 de febrero 2019


“We have clearly verified that you turned your back on the ideals for which we supported you in the past,” state a long list of Belgians who have been supporting the Sandinistas and the people of Nicaragua for decades. They wrote an open letter to President Daniel Ortega.

Mr. Daniel Ortega
Managua Nicaragua
Open letter
Brussels, February 8, 2019

Mr. President,

We are activists, ex-volunteers for development cooperation and heads of associations and non-governmental organizations with different political and philosophical views.

The earthquake of December 23, 1972 [in Managua] was for many of us the beginning of a commitment alongside the Sandinista National Liberation Front. After the victorious insurrection of July 1979, we maintained our support during the low intensity war that the US government imposed on you until the country was exhausted which led to the defeat of the FSLN in the elections of February 1990.

Throughout that period, in the fields and alongside you, in Belgium as in the world, many “internationalists” committed themselves, some even paid the price with their lives, to defend revolutionary Nicaragua. It was a time when the enemies, the Contras, shouted “Be a patriot, kill an internationalist!”.

After the terrible hurricanes Juana in 1988 and Mitch in 1998, we continued to be in solidarity with the suffering population, through reconstruction projects in which we are involved.

We accompanied your struggle for the return to power of the 1979 ideals. In November 2006, the FSLN’s electoral victory, in a totally new context, was for many of us the possible source of new hope. We then had different views about the policy carried out [by your government] during the past 12 years.

However, since April 2018, and the unleashing of the terror policy against all those who oppose the unilateral decisions of the Presidency, we are stunned. We no longer recognize the Nicaragua we met, to which we devoted time and energy, and do not understand the reasons for this radical change in policy.

If we write to you today it is because we are outraged. We can only confirm that you turned your back on the ideals for which we supported you in the past. How could a man who was the embodiment of this popular force, who spent 7 years in the Somoza dungeons, and who carried within himself the values ??of democracy, social justice and freedom, be able to separate himself from the people who claim those values today?

Like many others, we trusted you. Now, how can we explain the reasons that motivate you to follow the footsteps of your enemy of yesterday? How can we explain, when we hear the cries of those who denounce the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, that you, once so close to the people, do not seem to hear?

Several hundred people were killed by paramilitaries who were not prosecuted or neutralized. Thousands of people, mainly students, were imprisoned, without respecting the constitutional guarantees or judicial procedures, under the unfounded accusation of “terrorism”, for having expressed their disagreement against your policy. Among them, a Belgian national, Amaya Eva Coppens, daughter of one of our internationalist comrades, who committed himself like us to the popular Nicaragua in the 80s. In all honesty, we must recognize that Amaya’s fight is very similar to the one we carried back then against the [Somoza] dictatorship, the economic power of big capital and US imperialism.

In the name of this struggle that we carry out at your side, we urge you to return to the ideals of Sandino, Rigoberto López Pérez and Carlos Fonseca’s FSLN. The essence and dignity of the revolution are not only reflected in its objectives, but also in its methods, what the history of revolutionary processes taught repeatedly.

Out of respect for your career, in the name of the solidarity we have shown with strength and vigor in the past, we launch this solemn call to act in favor of a way out of crisis in accordance with the precepts of a Rule of Law that emanates from the Constitution of 1987, to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In this context, in the name of everything that united us and that we recall above, we ask you to intervene and order the immediate release of our Belgian compatriot Amaya Eva Coppens and of all the other persons imprisoned without reason and without respect for the procedures of the defense. We demand, for those people who are still being processed, a fair and dignified trial, as well as the prosecution within the framework of the law, of the murderous gangs that have operated with impunity for more than 9 months.

Hoping to be read, heard and understood by you, we say goodbye, Mr. President, with a restless and vigilant greeting.

Signed (in alphabetical order):

France ARETS – Presidenta de CRACPE, ex brigadista de los FGTBistas para Nicaragua.
Marie-Hélène BAGUETTE – Profesora y solidaria con el pueblo de Nicaragua.
Bernadette BAILLEUX – ex Miembro Comité Nicaragua de Lovaina-la-Nueva (entre otros). Varias estancias como brigadista.

Sam BIESEMANS – ex-Coordinador del centro UCOV de la Universidad VUB (Peace Messenger Naciones Unidas).

Marie-José BODY – Militante sindicalista y ex brigadista 1988.

Marc BONTEMPS – ex Secretario general de Oxfam-Wereldwinkels Bélgica (1990-2003).

Jacques BOURGAUX – Abogado honorario, ex Presidente de la Casa América latina y ex secretario general de la Asociación belga de juristas demócratas.

Eddy BOUTMANS – Secretario de Estado de la Cooperación al desarrollo del Gobierno federal belga 1999-2003.

Jacqueline BURLET – Comité de solidaridad Nicaragua Lovaina-la-nueva y luego Bruselas. Voluntaria de la cooperación al desarrollo y profesora en la UCA.

Hugo BUYSSENS – ex Delegado ACOD/CGSP -VRT y FGTBistas para Nicaragua.

Frédérique CALANGE – ex Miembro del Comité Nicaragua Lovaina-la-Nueva y exvoluntario de la cooperación al desarrollo Solidaridad Socialista en Jalapa.

Ralph COECKELBERGHS – ex Secretario General de Solidaridad Socialista.

Philippe CORNET- Brigadista 1988, miembro del Comité Nicaragua de Charleroi.

Dirk COSIJN – ex Brigadista ABVV-FGTB Nicaragua.

Claudine COURTIN – Miembro del Comité Nicaragua de Charleroi.

Otto CSONDOR – Ex-comité Nicaragua Bruselas

Leen DE BECKER – ex Voluntaria de la cooperación al desarrollo en Nicaragua para la ONG FOS – Solidaridad socialista en los años 80.

Sylvie DE TERSCHUEREN – Miembro activo de la associación Nicaragua Libre, 1998-2001.

Stefaan DECLERCQ – ex Cooperante en Nicaragua. Chocolatero.

Xavier DECLERCQ – Miembro del Comité Solidaridad Nicaragua. Chocolatero.

Chris DEN HOND – ex Brigadista con el sindicato cristiano flamenco y video-peridodista.

Christian DENYS – Animador ONG Solidaridad Socialista y ex brigadista 1984.

Alexis DESWAEF – Abogado, miembro del colegio de abogados de Bruselas y Presidente honorario de la Liga de Derechos Humanos.

Josy DUBIÉ – ex Periodista reportero de guerra RTB F y revista AZIMUT del PNUD. Senador honorario 1999-2007.

Paul-Emile DUPRET – Jurista y asesor del grupo parlamentario GUE/NGL en el Parlamento europeo.

Bernard DUTERME – Director del CETRI, Centro Tricontinental.

Marie-Paule ESKENAZI – Periodista y ex Directora de la Editorial « LABOR »

Anaïs ESKENAZI – Médico.

Francine EVRARD – Sicóloga – varias estancias en Nicaragua entre 1996 y 2012.

Christine FAVART – ex Coordinadora de las Amistades belgo-nicaraguenses y ex Directora en Wallonie-Bruxelles International.


Ginette FRAIPONT – ex Miembro de los FGTBistas para Nicaragua.

Jean-Pierre GABRIEL – Coautor del libro « Nicaragua, una esperanza para América Latina» y brigadista en Nicaragua en 1980

Pierre GALAND – ex Secretario general de OXFAM Bélgica, ex Senador, Presidente de la Asociación para las Naciones Unidas – Bélgica

Inis GALLANT – ex Voluntaria de la cooperación al desarrollo.

Jean-Pierre GOOR – ex Director de OXFAM Solidaridad.

Philippe GRIGNARD – ex Brigadista y coordinador del Comité América Central de Charleroi.

Thomas GRIVEGNEE – ex Brigadista post huracán MITCH.

Claudio GUTHMANN – Militante del Comité de Bruselas de Solidaridad con Nicaragua y coredactor de la revista “América Central”.

Serge HUSTACHE – ex Campaña Nicaragua 1980-82 ONG SolSoc y Comuna Ellezelles Hainaut.

Nathalie HUYGENS – Miembro Comité América Central de Charleroi. Viaje a Nicaragua en 1986.

Marc IMBERECHTS – Profesor jubilado, fondador de la editorial “Tétras Lyre”.

Monique JOLLY – ex Brigadista FGTBista para Nicaragua.

Sylvie JUDONG – Profesora de español y ex benévola en la Casa Nicaragua de Lieja.

Iouri LANGLET – ex Voluntario de la cooperación al desarrollo 1994- 2018 y « refugiado apolítico » de Nicaragua en Bélgica.

Jacques LANGLET – Pedagogo – varias estancias en Nicaragua entre 1996 y 2012.

Marc LENAERTS – Coordinador Brigada CGSP-enseñanza (1986) y co-coordinador de la Brigada FGTBistas para Nicaragua (1988).

Walter LOTENS – Brigadista y sindicalista ACOD Amberes (1985 y 1989)

Frans MAGGIO – ex Internationalista en julio y agosto de 1988.

Carine MALFAIT – Voluntaria de la cooperación al desarrollo, traductora e intérprete 1980 – 1991.

France MARION – Funcionaria jubilada, directora general del desarrollo de la Comisión europea.

Hervé MAURAGE – Voluntario de la cooperación al desarrollo, médico urgentista en Matagalpa.

Ximena NAVARRO – Ex brigadista Nicaragua CGSP – enseñanza 1987.

Marc NEVE – Abogado, ex Presidente de Abogados sin fronteras.

Christine NOTTET – Voluntaria de la cooperación al desarrollo Volens de 1987 a 1991.

Jean-Pierre PAPART – Doctor y ex voluntario de la cooperación al desarrollo de OXFAM en Nicaragua entre 1982 y 1990.

Olivier PIROTTE – Profesor, periodista, capacitador, investigador en Nicaragua.

Brigitte PONET – ex Brigadista en Nicaragua en los años 1980.

Maria RAMON – Ciudadana y militante para los derechos humanos en América Latina.

Jan REYNAERS – ex Funcionario y asesor del gabinete del Ministro de la Cooperación de Bélgica.

Stéphane RILLAERTS – Economista, voluntario de la cooperación al desarrollo, Solidaridad. Socialista, representante en Managua de COOPIBO, y profesor UCA, 1987 – 1993.

Annie SEGERS – Miembro del CA del Centro universitario par la cooperación al desarrollo – VUB.

Werner SOORS – Médico, ex-cooperante FOS (Fondo de cooperación al desarrollo)

Georges SPRIET – ex Brigadista.

Olivier STEIN – Abogado.

Luc STROOBANTS – Brigadista y sindicalista ACOD Amberes (1985)

Marie-Noëlle STRUELENS – Enfermera para MSF en Nicaragua 1989-1990.

Robert TANGRE – Presidente del Socorro Popular Walonia Bruselas.

Eric TOUSSAINT – Doctor en sciencias políticas, presidente del CADTM (Comité para la cancelación de la deuda del Tercer Mundo) Bélgica, miembro del Consejo internacional del Foro social mundial, ex miembro de los FGTBistas para Nicaragua.

Francis TOUSSAINT – Militante del Comité de Bruselas de Solidaridad con Nicaragua y coredactor de la revista «América Central ».

Benoit VAN DER MEERSCHEN – Ancien secrétaire général adjoint de la FIDH

Myriam VAN PARYS – ex Miembro Comité América Central de Charleroi.

Laurence VANPAESCHEN – Benévola de proyectos de solidaridad con el pueblo de Nicaragua.

Raf VERBEKE – Militante de los derechos fundamentales y brigadista ABVV en 1988.

Jean-Claude VERDOODT – ex Miembro del Comité Nicaragua de Charleroi.

Arnaud ZACHARIE – Secretario general de CNCD Operación 11.11.11Sr. Daniel Ortega

Download the open letter here.


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