Radio Internacional Feminista - FIRE

February 2008

            Support the” Nicaragua Nine” this March 8th, 2008  

Ana María Pizarro 

Mayra Siria

Lorna Norori

February 14, 2008. Granada, Nicaragua. FIRE (Maria Suárez Toro)

Today in the context of the artistic activities of the Autonomous Encuentro of Feminist Writers and Artists from Latin America and the World, organized by La Franja from  11- 17 in this city as part of the International Poetry Festival on the same dates and venue, Wings of the Butterfly Project made a special homage to the nine Nicaraguan activists accused in court of violating the Nicaraguan law when they defended a girl who was raped by her own stepfather. The accusations were filed after Rosita -the 9 year old child girl violated and who was practiced a therapeutic abortion in 2003- denounced some months ago in 2007 that her stepfather had violated her a second time and that she had given birth to a child.  

These activists are currently defending themselves by defending rights which are rights to all women not only in Nicaragua but worldwide:  the right to defend your rights.


Wings honored the “Nicaragua Nine” by declaring them “butterfliers.”  The homage took place in the Central Park of the ancient city of Granada at three o’clock in the afternoon in the presence of more that one hundred women and men – activists, taxi drivers, street vendors, poets, writers and singers - who gathered around a huge “dream catcher” filled with shoes, a symbol of  the hundreds and thousands of women in Nicaragua, Guatemala. Mexico and throughout Latin America and the world who are being killed by the crime of femicide (women killed for the sole reason of being women).

Women and men who ken about the activity placed tissue make butteflies among the shoes in the dream catcher, symbolizing the combination of death and hope, pain and beauty in the struggle for a better world.


A ceremony took place in which representatives of the nine received from Alas Co-coordinators, Maria Suarez and Constanza Rangel, a butterfly necklace and called on women and their organizations to honor them the day of their upcoming trial by placing butterflies symbols in the web pages, homes and public spaces.

The Swedish Ambassador in Nicaragua , Eva Zetterberg congratulated Wings of the Butterfly and the Poetry Festival in an interview for FIRE.  “I am going to participate in this homage from the distance and with all my heart because sexual and reproductive rights are a highly important theme.  In Sweden , we have very carefully followed up the accusation and supported these women ever since it all started.  We do not intervene in internal Nicaraguan policies, nevertheless, sexual and reproductive rights are international, global, and they do not belong to one country or another.  It seems to us very unjust and too expensive for these women who supported a little girl in danger, to afford such a trial.  I was very happy to see that you are honoring these women. “


  ¿Who are the “Nicaragua Nine”?  

The nine feminists are being sent to trial under allegations of the crime against the administration of law and penal crimes like association and instigation to violate the law as well as crime apology.  The accusation against the feminist leaders was filed by the Asociación Nicaragüense de Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, (ANPDH – Nicaraguan Association for the Promotion of Human Rights), under the leadership of Abelardo Matta, Bishop of Estelí.

According to Sofia Montenegro, one of the leaders of the Autonomous Women´s Movement (MAM –), “the performance of  ANPDH and their leader, Monsignor Matta, is evidence of  the cohabitation between a sector of the Catholic hierarchy with the project that the Ortega-Murillo marriage intends to impose in Nicaragua in order to get privileges from the Government he presides.”

The accused by the State and honored by the movement are: Ana María Pizarro, from the Regional Coordination of the 28th. September Campagin of the Women´s Network Against Violence and the Directive Council from the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network. Juana Jiménez, of the Coordinating Commission of the Women´s Network Against Violence during 2004-2007. Lorna Norori, Women´s Network Against Violence. Luisa Molina, spokeswoman  of the Federation of Organizations working with Childhood and Teenagers and member of the Coordination Commission of the Civil Commission. Martha María Blandón,  of the Feminist Movement.  Martha Munguía, former member of the Coordinating Commission of the Women´s Network Against Violence, constituent congresswoman during 1984-1990 and member of the Latin American Network of Shelters. Mayra Sirias, spokeswoman of the Women´s Network Against Violence.  Violeta Delgado, Executive Secretary of the Women´s Network Against Violence  1994-2003 and former national liaison with the Civil Coordination.  Yamileth Mejía, of the Coordinating Commission of the Women´s Network Against Violence during 2004-2007 and member of the Coordination Commission of the Civil Commission. 

According to a press release from MAM, the inconsistence of the accusation is evident because t it does not mention that at the moment of Rosita´s case, the Human Rights Public Prosecutor´s Office resolved that the measures taken to safeguard the life of Rosita pertained to her parents only and the District´s Attorney General´s Office resolved that the decisions taken fit  within the framework of the law.   

  ¿Who are “butterfliers” in the Wings of the Butterfly Project?

“Butterfliers” constitute a wing of the Wings of the Butterfly Project which aims to recognize and make visible women whose contributions need to be rendered visible.   

For this Project, “Butterfliers” are those women with whom we find resonance in the feminist struggles for a world where our worlds, our lives, our rights, our inputs and our untamed voices can have a dignified place.

Butterfliers” are the women that outstand in the struggle for gender justice, in the processes of democratization of our societies against the abuse of power, denial of our rights and invisibilisation of the women’s contributions.

Butterfliers” are those women that excel in this contribution while promoting feminist alternatives towards an inclusive world of social justice, equeality and a healthy planet by also challenging, with other actors, the paradigms of domination and exclusion.  

Among the  “Butterfliers” during these two years of the construction of Wings of the Butterfly we have rescued the Mirabal Sisters -  María Teresa, Minerva y Patria – assassinated the 25th. November following orders of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic .  Since 1981, their death became the symbol of the International Day of “No More Violence Against Women”. They challenged the dictatorship which abused their most basic  rights and tried to force them to refrain from stating the atrocities due to the disproportionate  and brutal power exerted by the State.

While they were in jail, people who identified with the Mirabal sisters and their struggles held up butterflies symbols outside the prison windows so that they would know they were not alone.

Along with the Mirabal Sisters in this year of 2008, the “Nicaragua Nine”  resonate with us because they are unjustly persecuted for defending our human rights. “Upon receiving this honor in the name of all women who suffer violence and persecution, we know that we are not alone in this struggle” said Mayra Sirias, one of the butterfliers.

As part of the artistic activity, Constanza read a legend written by Maria regarding the symbol of the butterfliers:


Once there was a place that was often far away, but sometimes very near - precisely because there was never one single point of reference – where there was a huge butterfly farm. It was always full of butterfliers.

Yes, just like it sounds: “butterfliers”. Women – creative and lively women – who had developed wings to fly in one of their many metamorphoses. 

But there was a time - not so long ago but not very near to today, precisely because in the farm, time was not measured by the clock, but cyclically in every profound change that these women experienced. At this time the butterfliers became very confused. They felt fragmented and dualistic when they grew wings because they did not know what to do with them.

This was their dilemma:  should they extend their wings to fly or instead use them to cover themselves.

They were in a real bind, for if they used their wings to fly; predators may come and devour them. And if they used the wings only to protect themselves, then what was the use of having beautiful and colorful wings that would allow them to fly further away from the time and place assigned to them every time they had metamorphosized?

But the butterfliers were very clever and arrived at the best solution for them. They stopped looking at their issues in a dichotomous or either-or way, and instead used one wing to fly and the other to protect themselves—the perfect dyad.

Moral of the story: If you place one of these butterflies on your neck, she will help you decide what is best to do with your own wings, thus becoming a butterflier. 


Campaign:  Be a Butterfly Effect

Wings of the Butterfly is asking you to join in this recognition the day of trial (to be announces) by CREATING BUTTERFLY SYMBOLS WITH THE NUMBER “NINE” AND POSTING THEM ON YOUR HOUSE WINDOWS, ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS, IN WEB PAGES AND BLOGS AND ON ANY VISIBLE PLACE.   

This is a call for all persons, organizations and networks to participate, to take pictures and to report what they do for this campaign.

You can also suggest new buttefliers from your countries by presenting their bio, photo and contributions to: together with the information about you and why you make the proposal. 

The delegation of Wings of the Butterfly was made up by the Co-coordinators, Maria Suárez Toro and Constanza Rangel as well as by costarican Wings artist, Larissa Coto -  a young percussionist,  singer and composer. Also with them was Gabi Sax, a young sax player and singer who honered the Nine by singing her production "Princesa Azul" (Blue Princess).

For more information about Wings of the Butterfly go to:

Feminist International Radio Endeavour (FIRE) was also present in Granada providing coverage of the activities.

For more information on the case of the “nine Nicaraguans” see:

For more information on La Franja and the Encuentro see: