Nicaraguan bishop Rolando José Álvarez, who began an indefinite fast, prayer and exorcism until the end of the police siegesaid this Friday that the government of President Daniel Ortega wants “a mute (Catholic) Church”, but that “if the Church were silent, the stones would scream.”
“What I think is that not only of me, but in general of the pastors of the Church”, what the Government wants “is a mute Church, which does not announce the hope of the people (…) and the denunciation of personal sin and of the structures of injustice,” Bishop Álvarez noted in an impromptu press conference from the Santo Cristo de Esquipulas parish, located on the outskirts of Managua.
“If the Church were silent, the stones would scream,” added the hierarch before a small group of media, including the Efe agency, which managed to enter the parish before it was besieged by dozens of police officers.
Alvarez explained that, although he has been watched since he began to denounce the abuses of the Governmentafter the social outbreak of April 2018 that left hundreds dead, it was until Thursday that he suffered “a real, true and authentic persecution” by the police.
Sergio Ramírez: “Back without folds”
On the situation of the bishop, Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez Mercado, Cervantes Prize 2017 and exiled for the persecution of the regime, He commented that “the Episcopal Conference should not hesitate to give a unanimous, firm and unambiguous support to Monsignor Álvarez, whose life and safety are in danger, that of him and his own family.”
“The Vatican should make a very clear expression of repudiation and condemnation of these acts of persecution against one of its most distinguished pastors in Nicaragua,” added the novelist in an interview with the program This weekwhich will be broadcast in its entirety on the YouTube channel and other social networks of CONFIDENTIALthe night of this Sunday May 22.
“Here (in Nicaragua) we have behind a congregation that is supporting Monsignor Álvarez, perhaps not in the streets because there is a lot of fear, and this fear is justified, but there is enormous moral support from Nicaraguans,” said the novelist.
water and whey
The Bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and administrator of the one in Estelí, both in the north of Nicaragua, confirmed that they will not consume more than water and serum indefinitely until the Police guarantee, through the Episcopate, that they will respect their “constitutional, civil rights, of free mobilization and privacy of my family.
Álvarez recounted that “two Sandinista Police patrols, completely full of policemen, (plus) four policemen on two motorcycles,” chased him “throughout the day (Thursday)” in all his movements, so, for his safety and that of his family, he chose to travel from the city of Matagalpa to Managua and begin indefinite fasting, prayer and exorcism.
He explained that with his fast he seeks to prevent unjustified police persecution from being seen as normal.
The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) has tried to establish communication with the National Police, led by a relative of President Ortega, to lift the siege against Álvarez, but they have not received a response, the bishop said.
This Friday, two police patrols woke up in front of the parish where Álvarez is “hosted”, also indefinitely, Efe found.
As the hours passed, the number of agents increased and the street in front of the temple was blocked when several journalists were present.
“This type of situation does not pay for anything, neither for the country, nor for the Government, nor for the population, nor for the church either. This does not pay anything positive for anyone, ”he valued.
Do not normalize the persecution
The bishop stated that he is not afraid of what might happen to him or his relativesand criticized those who normalize sieges or persecution.
“I am not afraid, it is simply a matter of order and it is a matter of not lending oneself to this type of intimidation, coercion, blackmail, persecution. If we Nicaraguans end up seeing it as normal, then we would be finished here as a people. And this is not normal, neither in this country nor in any other”, he stressed.
Álvarez is in charge of the communication area of the Episcopate and is one of the most popular and influential religious in Nicaragua.
The Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office (Telcor) ordered this Friday the cable operators of Nicaragua remove channel 51, Canal Católico, which belongs to the CEN, from its grid.
At the time of the removal from the grid, this channel was broadcasting a series of religious activities promoted by the Catholic Church in support of Álvarez’s indefinite fast.
President Ortega has branded as “terrorists” the Nicaraguan bishops who acted as mediators of a national dialogue that sought a peaceful solution to the crisis that the country has been experiencing since 2018.
He has also described them as “coup plotters”, accused of being accomplices of internal forces and international groups that, in his opinion, are acting in Nicaragua to overthrow him.
Relations between the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan Catholic Church have been marked by friction and mistrust in the last 43 years.
Nicaragua has been experiencing a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has been accentuated after the controversial general elections on November 7, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, fourth consecutive and second along with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as vice president, with her main contenders in prison.