Martha, a Nicaraguan teacher, did not receive the payment corresponding to the month of May, after the authorities opened an investigation against the Catholic Church and ordered the freezing of several accounts, which has affected private schools linked to the clergy.
This teacher, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, has worked in a private school for more than a decade, and assures the voice of america which is the first time his wages have been withheld.
“There is a lot of anxiety at the school, they don’t tell us when they will pay us again,” he said.
The Unidad Sindical Magisterial, which brings together primary and secondary school teachers from all over Nicaragua, said there is also fear that private schools belonging to the Catholic Church could be confiscated by the government.
“We have received complaints against the government for blocking the accounts, we are concerned about the situation, but also about the future of the schools,” he told the VOA Professor Gabriel Putoy, exiled in Costa Rica.
The Catholic Church and the government of Daniel Ortega did not respond to requests for comment from the voice of america.
On Sunday, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, told the agency AFP that there is concern among some priests about the lack of resources to pay the payroll in the schools.
Some priests have called him asking “how to pay teachers,” he said.
The government of Daniel Ortega confirmed the closure of bank accounts of several dioceses in Nicaragua for alleged embezzlement of funds and accused them of being part of a money laundering network.
Nicaraguan authorities said they found “hundreds of thousands of dollars, hidden in bags, located in facilities belonging to the diocese of the country,” the National Police said in a statement.
“The Attorney General of the Republic, the Superintendency of Banks and the Financial Analysis Unit have confirmed criminal movements with funds that have entered the country irregularly for the diocese and are being investigated, and proceedings have been opened for all these crimes,” says the police statement.
uncertainty for teachers
Teachers are overwhelmed in the midst of this panorama for their future and economic support. According to Putoy, from the Teachers’ Union Unit, it is difficult for a teacher to remain working for months without a salary.
“As teachers we can’t last two or three months because we earn little and the basic basket is very expensive,” he said.
The salary of teachers in Nicaragua is around 277 dollars. The cost of the basic basket ranges from 530 dollars, according to official data.
The judicial authorities have not explained whether the Ministry of Education is going to solve the problem faced by private schools.
Pablo Cuevas, from the Nicaraguan Human Rights Defender’s Office, said it was a “violation of labor rights.”
“Whoever works, has the right to a remuneration. The one who is called to resolve this situation is the State,” he said.