Father Harving Padilla de Masaya: "I have a parish for a prison"

Father Harving Padilla de Masaya: “I have a parish for a prison”

The constant police and paramilitary siege suffered by the San Juan Bautista de Masaya parish since last May 15, in the opinion of Father Harving Padilla, pastor of that religious temple, is that the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo has imposed “parish for jail”because you have no guarantees that when you leave you will not be harmed.

“They (police officers) say that I can go out at any time I want, but how am I going to go out being insecure, with those people there, how safe can one feel when civilians are constantly stationed there, people we know are paramilitaries? , aggressive, and to prevent them from having any confrontation with me, I prefer not to go out. TI engo parish for jail”, pointed out the priest.

In an interview with the program TonightPadilla assured that the siege against him in the San Juan Bautista parish is not the only one that occurs in Nicaragua, highlighting that other religious and parishes in Masaya and in other Dioceses of the country also suffer police and paramilitary harassment and siege.

“The persecution is against the Catholic Church, not only against a priest, because the objective is to silence the Church in the pastoral and priestly service that we do,” he said.

This May 18, the priest Uriel Pineda, pastor of the Divina Misericordia de Sébaco parish, reported being a victim of police harassment.

“Agents of the National Police who are in a booth outside the (Apostolic) Nunciature, took photographs and then waited for me to come out and there were other agents, who asked the driver for documents, and then demanded that I present my personal documents, to which I objected because I wasn’t driving”, denounced the religious through the social networks of the parish.

Padilla lamented that this May 18, in addition to the permanent siege in his parish, the arrest of the released political prisoner Yubrank Suazo occurred in Masaya, member of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (ACJD), who also denounced siege and harassment during the past weekend outside his parents’ home.

“Yubrank’s arrest hits me a lot because he is a young man who has been collaborating in all parish activities, he is very close to our Church, to the parishioners, as well as his family, they are well known and the situation they are going through hurts me. His mother is in a delicate condition in the hospital and the police came in attacking the young Yubrank and the family”, he affirmed.

“We feel threatened”

The priest stressed that as “humans” they feel threatened by this persecution and harassment directed by the Ortega-Murillo regime against the Church, and more recently with the possible criminalization that it intends to impose against the religious.

“Yes, we feel threatened, humanly we feel threatened, because they (the regime) have the frying pan in their hands and all the Sandinista deputies are at the mercy of any law that El Carmen sends,” he said.

He lamented that what has been attempted to form in Nicaragua “is the Sandinista empire, because they are the ones who have the frying pan in their hands, and they can slander you, they can point fingers at you, hit you, they can hurt you.”

Lhe National Assembly, controlled by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, approved on May 4 a report from the Justice and Legal Affairs and Peace, Defense, Interior and Human Rights Commissions in which it was recommended to increase the penalties against future political prisoners of Nicaragua who were tried for the crimes of “treason against the fatherland”, confiscating assets through the figure “extinction of domain” and criminalizing “religious and directors of human rights organizations who were involved in the coup adventure ”.

Campaigns against you

In the last three years, the priest Padilla has been the object of smear campaigns ordered by the Ortega-Murillo regime and disclosed in official media. In July 2018, the official 19 Digital published a note in which they accused the religious of “directing the terrorists who vilely murdered non-commissioned officer Gabriel de Jesús Vado Ruiz”, arguing that “his complicity was evident in the communication he had with the criminals”.

The priest affirmed that the disclosure of the official media was “totally manipulated”, since in the audio he assures that he asked the protesters to hand over the officer “to human rights to protect his life.”

“What I have understood from the doctors who stayed in the places to treat the wounded from the protests was that the same paramilitaries, when they entered the premises, took the man who was alive and that they themselves caused the death of that policeman. That is what the medical students who are in exile tell us,” he added.

The priest suffered another attack in November 2019 by a group of Ortega fanatics, supported by agents of the National Police, when they violently broke into a mass he held in support of Father Edwin Román, who was accompanying ten mothers on a hunger strike. . On that occasion, Padilla denounced that it was the second time that supporters of the regime desecrated the temple and blamed the leaders of the Sandinista Front in the city of Masaya.

In January 2020, a strong police device fenced off all accesses to the San Juan Bautista parish, after it was publicly known that a collection of school supplies would be carried out in the church, promoted by the Union of Political Prisoners and Prisoners (UPPN).

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