Caribbean Women Face Double Discrimination

MANAGUA, Mar 20 (IPS) – The first criminal prosecution for racial discrimination in Nicaragua, in response to a complaint brought by a woman lawmaker in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), has focused attention on the segregationist treatment of indigenous and Afro-Caribbean women in the Caribbean coastal regions.

Indigenous and black women make up 52 percent of the 650,000 people living along the country’s Caribbean coast, and they bear the greatest burden of gender and racial discrimination, the rector of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN), Alta Hooker, told IPS.

The complaint was lodged on Feb. 12 by Bridgete Budier Bryan, a PARLACEN lawmaker for the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), and has highlighted the historical marginalisation of the two autonomous regions, which occupy nearly 46 percent of the land area of this country.

Nicaragua’s eastern coastline is on the Caribbean Sea (part of the Atlantic Ocean), and its western shores are on the Pacific.

Budier Bryan reported the owners of the El Chamán discothèque in Managua to the public prosecution service and to human rights organisations, complaining that black people were being refused entry.

On Feb. 16, the investigation was widened to include four other discos. If the owners are found guilty, they face fines of a portion of their revenues for 500 days, or may even be shut down.

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