The Nicaraguan regime is in a very worrying totalitarian and anti-religious drift. On 4 August riot police prohibited the bishop of Matagalpa, Mons. Rolando Álvarez, from leaving the bishop’s palace to give mass. They have him under house arrest!
What is his alleged crime? The police quote “inciting to carry out violent acts” and attempting to “destabilize the country”.
Has there been a previous trial with a hearing of the party involved? Of course not. This is a case of plain political finger-pointing. And the police are the ones executing it.
Shortly before his house arrest, the first lady, Rosario Murillo, accused the bishop of Matagalpa of “a crime against spirituality.” Sandinista congressman Wilfredo Navarro also accused him shortly before of “inciting violence and disorder.”
And what is the reality of all this? What Msgr. Ronaldo Alvarez maintains is that the true Church of Jesus Christ is the one that prophetically denounces the abuse of power. He does not seek their favors, he fights for the rights of the people, makes constructive proposals and does not keep quiet. Is this inciting violence and disorder?
Rather, it appears that the Ortega and Murillo regime is unwilling to tolerate dissent. It has seven pre-candidates in jail. In addition, 120 journalists have had to go into exile to protect their integrity and their lives. Also 1200 NGOs have had to leave the country, as denounced by the OAS. Do they also incite violence and destabilization?
What is really happening is that Daniel Ortega’s totalitarianism is so brutal that only the Church remains as a dissident voice. That’s why they’ve been harassing the Church for months. They have six priests in prison. They forced the vice-president of the Nicaraguan episcopate, Msgr. Silvio Baez, to depart for the USA after being physically beaten inside a church.
A few weeks ago, the Sisters of Mother Teresa were expelled from the country at night, like criminals! Are they also inciting hatred, violence and destabilization?
In addition, the regime has closed 8 radio stations, 7 of which are owned by the Diocese of Matagalpa. It has also closed a television channel, which is a scandal. What has happened to freedom of expression?
The USA has already expressed concern about the situation. The US State Department’s Deputy Director for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Brian Nichols, said that this is Ortega’s “brutal assault” on freedom of expression and religious freedom.
The harassment is so violent that it has already aroused ecclesiastical solidarity. The clergy of the diocese of Matagalpa supported him on August 4, the same date on which he was prevented from celebrating the Eucharist. Of course, the Nicaraguan episcopate also expressed its solidarity.
The Mexican Episcopal Conference has also shown its solidarity, and the Latin American Episcopal Conference has done the same.
Because in addition to solidarity, Nicaragua has become a kind of laboratory. If the anti-religious harassment is not stopped in Nicaragua, it is likely to jump to other countries also governed by the extreme left, such as Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile or Mexico, countries of the so-called Puebla Group.
For this reason, CitizenGO has launched a campaign calling on the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to take action on the matter. To guarantee freedom of religion and expression in Nicaragua and throughout the Americas. This is the main challenge. Moreover, religious freedom is the test of respect for human rights. And for the moment Nicaragua does not pass the test…