Nicaraguans in US Support Compatriots Exiled by Ortega
“They will not be homeless; where there is a Nicaraguan there is solidarity”
In addition to the reception and medical and legal attention from the United States Government, if any of them do not yet have a temporary home, the community of compatriots organizes help.
HAVANA TIMES – Once the news of the release and expulsion of 222 political prisoners from Nicaragua to the United States became known, the Nicaraguan community based in the US travelled to Washington to greet them, and since then, the material aid has not stopped flowing.
Volunteers have brought food, clothing, footwear, and personal items to the Westin Hotel in Virginia, where the exiles are staying. The volunteers are also providing advice on how to fill out job applications. “It’s amazing how many Nicaraguans who don’t belong to organizations have come to offer help,” said Anita Wells, a volunteer with the Nicaraguan American Alliance for Human Rights (NAHRA).
Oswaldo Leon, a Nicaraguan living in the United States, said that the donations are spontaneous. “No one said bring them. On the contrary, people have brought and delivered donations to be shared among all the compatriots who were exiled,” he said.
The 222 Nicaraguans entered the United States under a “humanitarian parole” that grants them legal stay for two years, a work permit, and the possibility of requesting political asylum and reunifying with their families. But at least 170 of them do not have relatives in the US to host them, so the Nicaraguan diaspora is promoting a campaign to support their stay in the United States.
Exiled Nicaraguans in search of temporary homes
The US Government officially hosted the 222 exiled Nicaraguans until February 12th, in the Westin hotel in Virginia. However, Wells clarifies that if there is anybody who does not have a confirmed destination, then arrangements will be made to have them stay there longer.
León also explained that a database is being developed to identify who the relatives are that can host the exiles, and where they live. “Those who have relatives will go to their relatives and those who do not, were put on a list to find a temporary home for them.) They will not be homeless because we Nicaraguans are here and where there are Nicaraguans, there is solidarity,” he said.
Wells said the US government provided the released prisoners with a cell phone and financial help for their immediate needs, and Nicaraguans in the diaspora have organized volunteers to take them shopping, since they were released from prison with nothing but the clothes they had on.
Upon arrival in the United States, the 222 Nicaraguans underwent thorough medical examinations to assess their state of health.
Wells said that there are several groups that are working to coordinate aid intended for the former political prisoners. If you would like to help, you can write to [email protected] or 1-866-NAHRA-US.
You can also offer support through the Let’s Help Them (jotform.com) platform which asks for your name, email, phone number and type of help you are able to offer.