Nicaraguan Human Rights Attorney Fighting for Indigenous Rights Target of Assassination Attempt

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sat Nov 2 09:07:11 MST 2002


BTL:Nicaraguan Human Rights Attorney Fighting for Indigenous Rights Target
of Assassination Attempt
by Between The Lines' Denise Manzari 6:40am Sat Nov 2 '02

address: BETWEEN THE LINES c/o WPKN Radio 89.5 FM Bridgeport, Connecticut
betweenthelines at snet.net

Interview with Maria Acosta, Center for Legal Assistance to Indigenous
Peoples in Nicaragua conducted by Denise Manzari

On April 8, Francisco Garcia Valle, a well-known university professor in
Bluefields, Nicaragua, was viciously murdered in his home and was found
bound, gagged, and shot in the chest. At the time of the murder, Valle's
wife Maria Luisa Acosta was meeting with a delegation from IFCO/Pastors for
Peace.

Acosta is an internationally known attorney who has received threats to her
physical safety in the past because of her work on behalf of indigenous
communities struggling to keep their land and protect basic human rights.

In September, a forensics expert traced one of the bullets which killed
Valle to a weapon registered to Peter Martinez, attorney for Peter Tsokos,
an American citizen and real estate developer who claims he "purchased" the
Pearl Cays, seven small islands off the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, for
$30,000. Since then, Tsokos has sold some of the islands for half a million
dollars each.

But this land was guaranteed to local indigenous communities under the
Nicaraguan Constitution and the 1988 Atlantic Coast Autonomy Act. Acosta
represents the Autonomous Region of the South Atlantic Coast against Tsokos.

Despite these laws, the courts of Nicaragua have been accused of ignoring
these rights and collaborating with U.S. corporations to privatize and sell
indigenous people's lands.

Maria Acosta is coordinator of the Center for Legal Assistance for
Indigenous Peoples or CALPI. She spoke with Between The Lines' Denise
Manzari about her husband's murder and international concern for her
continued safety.

For more information about the case, call Pastors for Peace (212) 926-5757
or visit their Web site www.ifconews.org
*

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on
one of the links below:

http://www.btlonline.org




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