The Vatican’s business manager in Nicaragua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, left Friday for Costa Rica, after the government of Daniel Ortega announced earlier this week the suspension of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Diouf’s departure coincides with the Vatican’s announcement of the closure of its diplomatic mission in Nicaragua. The care of the nunciature headquarters was entrusted to the Italian government, according to diplomatic conventions, the official Holy See media reported.
The Vatican’s decision to close the apostolic nunciature came a week after the Nicaraguan government proposed suspending relations with the Holy See.
Prior to his departure, Diouf held a meeting with the German ambassador in Managua, Christoph Bundscherer, and his counterparts from Italy, France and the European Union in a farewell gesture, the delegation announced.
“Marcel will convey the message to the Holy Father: We regret the closure of the Nunciature. Together with the Catholic Church, the representatives of the European Union in Nicaragua will also always defend the Christian values of freedom, tolerance and human dignity,” Bundscherer said in written statements.
Ortega has accused the Church and priests of plotting a coup during the 2018 anti-government protests, and recently called the Catholic Church and priests “a mafia” and behind “crimes.”
Recently the Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez He was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Ortega has banned religious processions and has canceled dozens of Church radio and television channels.
Both the United States and the European Union and Pope Francis himself have called for the release of Bishop Álvarez, who is being held in a maximum security prison in Managua.
The official note from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs published last Sunday noted that “in view of the information that has been disclosed by sources apparently linked to the Catholic Church, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of our Blessed and Always Free Nicaragua, specifies that between the Vatican State and the Republic of Nicaragua a suspension of Diplomatic Relations has been proposed”.
[Con información de The Associated Press]
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