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'Tortured beauty' given U.S. asylum
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 04/14/2009 @ 8:45 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Nicaraguan refugee Auxiliadora Martinez (photo: WND / Chelsea Schilling
(Editor’s note: This interview was conducted with assistance of a translator)
Auxiliadora Martinez, a Nicaraguan political refugee, has been granted asylum in the United States and is no longer fearing for her life after hundreds of phone calls and letters, numerous prayers and countless marriage proposals in response to WND’s exclusive story just last week.
“I want to thank you readers of WorldNetDaily for all your kind words,” Martinez said. “Today, I have received an affirmation of the greatness of your country and nation. I received notice that I have been granted asylum.”
Martinez’ harrowing story
Martinez, 23, was beaten with sticks, shot at, nearly raped and almost murdered – all because she fought for free elections.
While she was a campaign organizer for Eduardo Montealegre, former Constitutionalist Party candidate for Managua mayor in 2008, she was tortured by Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime.
Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega has employed neighborhood committees called Citizens Power Councils, or CPCs, used by his corrupt Sandinista party to spy on citizens, intimidate and torture them.
Martinez told WND the CPCs attacked her with large rocks, sticks, mortars and sprays of gunfire. A gang of Sandinista CPCs tried to rape and kill her because she was part of a group protesting the legitimacy of the 2008 municipal elections.
CPCs fired homemade mortars into Martinez’ mother’s home and put her name on a torture list.
During Nicaragua’s municipal elections last year, it was estimated that one-third of the voting stations experienced irregularities. Some polling locations closed early, and observers were evicted.
The president banned independent election observers from monitoring the polls for the first time since 1990. Many people believe Ortega and Hugo Chavez are determined to consolidate Marxist power in the region.
From left to right: Managua candidate for vice mayor, Enrique Quiñónez; Martinez and Managua mayor candidate Eduardo Montealegre
Martinez said Montealegre had documents showing that the election was fraudulent, but when he tried to present the evidence, he was kidnapped by the CPCs. His supporters protested the results, and they were violently attacked.
Sandinistas shot a young man in the back while he stood next to Martinez, blockaded streets and attempted to burn down Montealegre’s campaign headquarters because they believed proof of fraudulent election results from the canvassing board was inside.
While Martinez walked home from protesting the election results, she spotted CPCs staring at her.
“I know who she is,” one said. “She’s one of his.”
She overheard one say, “Let’s kill her.”
“The first thing that came to my mind was my family. I felt that I was never going to see them again,” Martinez said, her voice quivering. “First, I asked God to forgive my sins and I kept walking. I asked God to protect me. They had photographs; they had names. They knew who I was. I was surrounded and in my mind, I was clinging to God.”
Two strange men suddenly clenched her arms and ripped her blouse as she struggled to free herself. They warned her not to scream while they prepared to rape her.
She spotted woods nearby – and had a vision of her lifeless body being dumped just yards away after enduring torment of a brutal sexual attack.
One of the men let go of her arm to respond to orders issued on his walkie-talkie. She immediately pulled away and began running.
“I don’t know how, only God knows, how I got loose,” she said. “I ran, and they followed me, throwing rocks.”
Martinez saw a house with an open door and a man who appeared to be leaving for work. Without asking for permission, she ran into his house. The CPCs did not follow her, and with the help of a woman inside, she escaped out a back door.
Sandinistas wield machetes and wear T-shirts stating, “Love is stronger than hate.” (photo: La Prensa, 11/12/08)
Battle for asylum
She came to the United States in December to seek asylum, terrified that if she returned to Nicaragua, the Sandinistas would recognize and kill her. Her mother and sisters fled to Guatemala.
Martinez was given a hearing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She waited three hours to tell her story and offered several original photographs, her testimony, media reports, film footage and her campaign ID, but she said officials failed to express interest in her evidence.
“Honestly, it was the first time in my life that I was in the judgment seat,” she said. “For me, it was very hard.”
On March 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent her a notice of intent to deny her request for asylum. The letter, signed by George S. Mihalko, director of the Los Angeles asylum office, stated that her testimony “was found not credible,” because it was “vague and incoherent” concerning her campaign activities with Montealegre.
The agency’s note included puzzling statements such as, “You were unable to provide any other reasons why Eduardo would want to harm you.”
But Martinez said she never suggested that Montealegre would hurt her. She said she was concerned that Ortega and the Sandinistas would attack her.
The note also said she failed to establish that she had almost been raped or killed by the CPCs on Nov. 18.
“USCIS has found that you are not eligible for asylum status in the United States,” it said. The office gave her only 16 days to submit a rebuttal.
Martinez sent a letter with a Channel 2 video of the Nov. 18 protest. In the footage, she is shown standing with the Montealegre family. She presented two more videos – including one she recorded at the march where a CPC mob is shown surrounding them.
Department of Homeland Security grants asylum to Martinez
Martinez said she was deeply concerned that she would not be given a fair chance for asylum in the U.S. But just one week after WND published an exclusive on her story, her request has been granted.
She received another letter from Mihalko, dated April 9, four days after the article. It states:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) previously issued you a Notice of Intent to Deny your request for asylum. You were given the opportunity to submit an argument in rebuttal to the proposed grounds for denial. After careful consideration of your rebuttal materials, it has been determined that you are eligible for asylum in the United States.
America weighs in on Martinez’ case
Meanwhile, a WND poll with more than 2,700 responses revealed that 38 percent of readers believe Martinez is “more worthy to be here than millions of people who call themselves Americans.” An additional 23 percent said the U.S. should grant her asylum immediately while 11 percent believed she has a better grasp on principles of freedom than many Americans.
Auxiliadora Martinez (photo: WND / Chelsea Schilling)
And at least 112 people expressed interest in marrying Martinez.
At Hubdub, a website that allows readers to stake virtual money on predictions about the outcomes of news stories, 62 people made bets on whether Martinez would be given asylum.
Approximately 5 percent believed Martinez would not be granted asylum, while 89 percent said the story would prove to be fake or have no outcome. Only 6 percent said she would be allowed to stay in the U.S.
Upon receiving the news of her granted request, Martinez broke into tears of joy.
She expressed gratitude for the efforts and outpouring of support by WND readers and offered a suggestion to President Obama for his trip to the Summit of the Americas conference in Trinidad.
“This is a great defeat for Daniel Ortega,” Martinez said. “I hope President Obama tells him this week when he meets him that the U.S. should not have to clean up after the suffering that Ortega is causing Nicaraguans who do not support his socialist revolution.”
The U.S. has forgiven $500 million in Nicaraguan debts; however, it recently froze $175 million in foreign aid following reports of the municipal election fraud.
In June, Obama will decide whether to permanently suspend $64 million in U.S. aid to Nicaragua.
Ortega said he “will not negotiate the mayorships” and has accused the U.S. of “taking bread” from Niacargua’s poor by withholding the funds.
Overcome with joy that she will not face rape or death at the hands of Ortega’s CPCs, Martinez said she wants Americans to know that she never once considered sneaking into the country.
Instead, she chose to obey the nation’s immigration laws.
“Let me say this clearly: I never wished to abuse the U.S. visa process, and I never once did for a moment. I have never once been to the U.S. illegally,” Martinez said.
“I thank you for making this country the last best hope. And thank you, America, for taking this stranger into your beautiful home.”
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