February 7, 2023

ROME – The Nicaraguan National Police announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into Catholic leaders for allegedly inciting violence with the intent of destabilizing the country.

“Exploiting their status as religious leaders, using the media and social networks, senior church officials are trying to organize violent groups, inciting them to carry out acts of hatred against the population … with the aim of destabilizing the Nicaraguan State,” police He said in the current situation.

Law enforcement has focused in particular on Bishop Rolando Alvarez, 55, of the Diocese of Matagalpa in central Nicaragua. On Friday, Alvarez, outspoken opponent of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, denounce Police actions including two days of police siege around the Episcopal Curia in Matagalpa.

After Bishop Alvarez banned him from walking to his church four blocks away, he chose to celebrate mass at his residence and broadcast it live on Facebook.

The road outside the clergy’s house is closed by the National Police. The main gate, as well as the garage, was also closed by riot police. However, even in this case, we maintain our joy, strength and inner peace.

This is the second time that the Nicaraguan government has imposed a blockade on Bishop Alvarez, following similar police actions last May. At the time, the bishop protested this measure with a hunger strike, and fasted on “water and serum.”

Alvarez denounced “the intensification of the repression of the Catholic Church by the dictatorships of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, who blamed religious people for the protests of citizens in 2018 against his regime, which he described as a “coup” and “terror.”

bishop denounce The closure of seven Catholic radio stations in his diocese this week by the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and the Post Office (Telcor), arguing that the stations did not have an official permit to operate.

On Wednesday, Buenos Aires-based Infobae mentioned Resentment grows among Nicaraguans as Pope Francis fails to respond to Ortega’s war on the Catholic Church.

Infobae described the Pope’s silence as “scandalous,” and listed a series of public statements to Nicaraguan journalists and intellectuals complaining about the Vatican’s position.

Augustin Antonetti, director of Latin America Watch, a nongovernmental organization, echoed the same ideas on Thursday.

“Pope Francis’s silence about what is happening in Nicaragua is scandalous,” Antonetti said. “Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship is taking the churches by force, they have shut down all their channels and radios, even one priest is in prison, and the rest are afraid of being kidnapped.”

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