From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Campaign Intensifies Against Deportation of U.S. Nurse

Date 02 Feb 2001 13:04:52

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
General Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2227



February 2, 2001, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the U.S. religious
community and Congress are pressing the Nicaraguan government not to deport
Dorothy Granada, a 70-year-old nurse and U.S. citizen.

In a letter spearheaded by Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Cynthia
McKinney (D-GA) to be released today (February 2), some 32 members of the
U.S. Congress will call upon Nicaragua’s President Arnoldo Aleman to
allow Granada to resume her work.  Members of the U.S. and Central American
faith communities published a similar appeal in Nicaragua’s national
newspapers in mid-January (attached).

An Episcopalian from Santa Cruz, Calif., Granada and the clinic are
supported by a network of Protestant churches and medical professionals in
the United States, according to information on a Web site initiated by her
supporters (

For the last 10 years Granada has served as director of the Maria Luisa
Ortiz Health Clinic in Mulukuku, a poor rural town with no doctors, in
central Nicaragua.  Nicaraguan President Aleman closed down the clinic in
December and ordered Granada deported.  Granada and the clinic are charged
with performing abortions – illegal under Nicaraguan law – and
serving only Sandinistas.

Granada denies both charges, saying she has “answered these
accusations through the media as follows:  We have patient records for the
more than 23,500 women, children and men served in the last 10 years.  In
the entire municipality of 30,000 persons, there are less than 6,000 members
of the Sandinista Party (a legally constituted political entity under
Nicaraguan law.)

“Abortion is illegal in Nicaragua and in the clinic we have never
performed an abortion….On the contrary, we beg women who come to us
with undesired pregnancies –many from rape! -- to not seek abortion
but to come to us for prenatal care and birthing.  We promise the women we
will work with them to find a way to care for their babies.”

In mid-January, representatives of the National Council of Churches, several
of its member communions—the Church of the Brethren, Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.) and United Church of Christ/Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ)—and of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Maryknoll
Office for Global Concerns, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Episcopal
Peace Fellowship—joined with Central American denominational and
ecumenical leaders in publishing a letter to President Aleman in the
national Nicaraguan papers.

The letter called for the reopening of the clinic, an end to efforts to
deport Dorothy and for better relations between the Nicaraguan government
and nongovernmental organizations, whose work with Nicaragua’s poor
has recently been hampered by government harassment.

“Dorothy has dedicated her life to nonviolence and the right to health
care,” said Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Esq., Director of the National
Council of Churches’ Washington Office and Associate General Secretary
for Public Witness.

“At 6 a.m. on December 8th, her 70th birthday,” Girton-Mitchell
recounted, “14 armed police and immigration officials surrounded
Granada’s house in Mulukuku with the intent of arresting and deporting
her.  She was in Managua on business, and decided to go into hiding when she
heard the news.  Later the President of Nicaragua and several of his top
ministers publicly – and falsely -- accused Granada of performing
abortions at the clinic and of serving only members of the Sandinista party.
 Without as much as a hearing, she was ordered deported.”

Over the years, regular delegations to Mulukuku from U.S. churches and
medical schools have created a base of support for Dorothy’s work and
for the plight of the people of Nicaragua, the second poorest nation in the
hemisphere, after Haiti.

“Annual United Methodist, Presbyterian, and Church of the Brethren
delegations have focused on globalization issues, provided medical care,
assisted in work projects, and established long-term relationships of
solidarity,” said Jaydee Hanson, Associate General Secretary for
Public Witness and Advocacy, United Methodist Board of Church and Society 
“After all, it was from the Latin American churches that many of us
learned what it means to stand with the poor of this world.  Now we
understand that such solidarity is part of our calling.”

“Up until now, our support for the clinic has been primarily
humanitarian, said Sue Wagner-Fields, Globalization Specialist with the
Church of the Brethren and a leader of annual church delegations to
Mulukuku, “but this attack on Dorothy and the Women’s Clinic has
forced us to take political action.  For nearly two months, an
‘emergency response’ network of supporters throughout the U.S.
has been generating thousands of phone calls and faxes to representatives of
both the U.S. and Nicaraguan governments.”

The independent Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights and the Nicaraguan
government’s own Office of the Ombudsman for the Defense of Human
Rights have both called attention to government violation of Dorothy’s
basic human rights under Nicaraguan and international law.  Amnesty
International has issued a worldwide alert on her behalf.  U.S. Ambassador
Oliver Garza has voiced support for Dorothy, saying that he is carefully
watching to see whether her rights to due process are upheld.

In a letter spearheaded by Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Cynthia
McKinney (D-GA) to be released Friday, Feb. 2, members of the U.S. Congress
will call upon President Aleman to allow Dorothy to resume her work in
Mulukuku and to support the life-giving work of numerous non-governmental
organizations to improve the well-being of Nicaraguans.

"The eyes of the world are on the Nicaraguan government," said Rep. Sam
Farr, D-CA., "By letting Dorothy Granada run her rural clinic in peace, the
government can demonstrate its commitment to human rights and to its own

In order to avoid being illegally detained and deported, Dorothy Granada
remains in hiding, until her situation is resolved legally and politically.
A ruling on an injunction order filed by Dorothy’s lawyers against the
deportation order could be announced as early as today. A website with
frequent updates about Dorothy and the clinic can be found at:


Heather Nolen, National Council of Churches:  202-544-2350 X23
Sue Wagner Fields, Globalization Specialist, Church of the Brethren: 
Jill Winegardner, Gerry Gordon, Santa Cruz Support Committee for Dorothy
Granada: 831-768-7004


January 12, 2001
Honorable President Arnoldo Aleman
Managua, Nicaragua

Dear President Aleman:
For twenty years, aid organizations, economic development agencies,
faith-based organizations, human rights groups, education promoters, and
medical teams from around the world have formed partnerships with Nicaragua
to rebuild its economic, social, and religious institutions. The tangible
and intangible contributions of these groups have aided the transition to
democracy in Nicaragua and have produced valuable connections between
Nicaragua and the world community.

Actions of the Aleman administration to discredit one such organization,
Ayuda Obrera Suiza, to close the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative in Mulukuku,
and to deport an international health worker, Dorothy Granada, are the most
recent in a series of actions against international partners. Prohibitive
duty on contributed goods, harassment of non-governmental organizations and
their staff, and reckless accusations against people who work tirelessly on
behalf of Nicaragua’s poorest people give rise to grave concerns for
us. The current climate of intimidation of non-governmental organizations is
unacceptable. Our solidarity with the people of Nicaragua continues to guide
us in our advocacy efforts and we are dedicated to supporting strong civil
society engagement in Nicaragua.

Given the recent attention on Nicaragua in international fora due to its
consideration for acceptance into HIPC, Nicaragua can ill afford the erosion
of trust and cooperation that threatens its partners.

Dr. Aleman, as representatives of faith-based and non-governmental
organizations working in partnership with Nicaraguan civil society, we
urgently request the following:

-Allow the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative and Clinic to resume operation;
-Fulfill the government’s obligation to provide heath services to
-End efforts to deport Dorothy Granada;
-Be a responsible steward of contributed resources;
-Uphold the climate of openness to international partnership;
-Stop all unwarranted harassment of aid workers;
-Implement a policy and take actions to promote cooperation with the
non-governmental organizations that are working for the development of the
Nicaraguan people.

Respectfully, we wish you and the people of Nicaragua a year of grace and

Ms. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Esq.
Director of the Washington Office and
Associate General Secretary for Public Witness
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Marie Dennis
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Dr. Gustavo Parajon
CEPAD (Concilio  de Iglesias Evangelicas Pro Alianza Denominacional)
Managua, Nicaragua

Dr. Benjamín Cortés Orochena
Secretary General
CIEETS (Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teologicos y Sociales)

Reverendo Miguel Tomas Castro
Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel
San Salvador, El Salvador

Dra. Noemy Espinoza
Comunidad Cristiana Mesoamericana
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Nadine L. Monn
Consulting Specialist
Latin American/Caribbean Office
Church of the Brethren

Janet G. Chisholm
Interim Co-Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Rabbi David Saperstein
Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Mary H. Miller
Executive Secretary
Episcopal Peace Fellowship

Reverend David Vargas
Executive for the Latin American & Caribbean Global Ministries
United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ

Rev. Eleanora Giddings Ivory
Washington Office
Presbyterian Church USA

cc:  	The Honorable Alfonso Ortega, Ambassador
	Embassy of Nicaragua
	Ingeniero Jose Bosco Marenco Cardenal, Ministro de Gobernacion (Internal
	Licenciada Mariangeles Arguello, Ministra de Salud (Health)
	Dr. Benjamin Perez Fonseca, Procurador de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights)
	Dr. Enrique Chavarria, Presidente de la Sala Penal del Tribunal de
de Managua (Appellate Court)
	U.S. Ambassador Oliver Garza,  U.S. Embassy in Managua

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