When I heard that Nicaragua had scrapped its anti-gay law at first I was surprised.
Consensual gay sex will no longer be a criminal offence in Nicaragua under a new civil code due to come into effect on March 2008.
Under old legislation passed in 1992, "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandises or practices sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex commits the crime of sodomy and shall incur one to three years' imprisonment."
And then I thought of Alvaro.
So I e-mailed him to find out how he's doing and get his reaction.
He was happy but he did point out why the NIcaraguan government did what it did. Not because it was the right thing to do. But because of the almighty buck.
The reality is the government of Nicaragua doesn't want tourists to stay away so the only way for them to improve their image in the world is to abolish the anti-gay law.
And that because of the power of the Catholic Church it will take a long time for homophobic attitudes to change.
It will take many many years for people in Nicaragua to accept gay people. The homophobia will still be there. And now it could be even more dangerous as gay people now have the right to speak.
Alvaro is also proud that along with Amnesty International and other human rights groups around the world his case helped make the change happen. Although it won't happen until next March.
And his personal situation remains bleak.
The last eight months have been hard....depression, stress, and other bad symptoms. Thanks to my family doctor , my councillor, and some spiritual orientation I am doing better. But it still is a big challenge to confront this sad reality.
The hope for now is that the Minister of Immigration will respond to the online petition and stop the deportation....the last chance is the appeal in Federal Court that my new lawyer Mr. Lorne Waldman is doing...I just hope that my supporters don't give up to continue helping me.
I hope they won't either.... so our hideous Immigration Department won't deport Alvaro back to a country where his case is well known. And his enemies could be waiting.
So if you haven't done it already please use the link in Alvaro's website to petition the Minister.
Nicaragua may be joining the 21st Century. Time marches on.
But Alvaro still needs us...
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