ROME — Nicaragua’s National Police announced Friday that it has launched an investigation against Catholic leaders for allegedly inciting acts of violence aimed at destabilizing the country.
“Taking advantage of their status as religious leaders, using the media and social networks, high officials of the Church are attempting 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 a statement.
Law enforcement authorities have focused their attention specifically on 55-year-old Bishop Rolando Álvarez of the Diocese of Matagalpa, in central Nicaragua. On Friday, Álvarez, a staunch opponent of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, he complained police measures including a two-day police blockade around the diocesan curia of Matagalpa.
Unable to walk to his church four blocks away, Bishop Álvarez chose to celebrate Mass at his residence and broadcast it live on Facebook.
“The road outside our cleric’s house has been closed by the national police. And the main gate, as well as the garage, are also blocked by the MAT. However, even in this situation, we maintain our joy, our strength and our inner peace,” said Álvarez.
This is the second time the Nicaraguan government has banned Bishop Álvarez, following a similar police action last May. At the time, the bishop protested the measure through a hunger strike, fasting on “water and serum”.
Álvarez denounced “the intensity of the repression of the Catholic Church by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, who blamed the religious for the 2018 civil protests against his regime, which he describes as a ‘coup’ and ‘terrorism’.” .”
The bishop he complained this week the closure of seven Catholic radio stations in his diocese by the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Posts (Telcor), on the pretext that the stations did not have a government license to operate.
On Wednesday, Buenos Aires-based Infobae mentionted The growing unhappiness among Nicaraguans due to Pope Francis’ lack of response to Ortega’s war against the Catholic Church.
Calling the pope’s silence “scandalous,” Infobae recounted a series of public statements by Nicaraguan journalists and intellectuals who complained about the Vatican’s stance.
Agustin Antonetti, director of Latin America Watch, an NGO, echoed the same sentiments on Thursday.
“Pope Francis’ silence on what is happening in Nicaragua is scandalous,” Antonetti said. “Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship is taking over the churches by force, they have shut down all their channels and radios, even a priest is in jail and the rest are afraid of being kidnapped.”