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January 5, 2023
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Nicaraguan regime signs condolences for death of Benedict XVI while prosecuting religious

They put the priests of Matagalpa on political trial and accept their trusted lawyers

The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo sent a delegation of dictatorship officials to sign the book of condolences for the death of the emeritus pope Benedict XVIwhile in the country it persecutes, exiles, imprisons and prosecutes religious such as priests, seminarians, Catholic journalists and the bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez Lagos.

Ortega and Murillo maintain a persecution against the Catholic Church after the bishops of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference (CEN) mediated a failed national dialogue in the context of the social protests of April 2018. The dictator accused the high hierarchy of the Church to lead a coup against him.

The vice president has launched virulent speeches against the religious and has told them a string of pejorative epithets that her followers and digital mobs use to attack the priests and bishops of Nicaragua.

Related news: Ortega executed 140 attacks against the Catholic Church in 2022

In this same vein, in March of last year the dictatorship ordered the expulsion of the apostolic nuncio Monsignor Waldemar Stanislav Sommertag from Nicaragua, the representative of Pope Francis in the Central American country, an action that was later rejected by the Holy See.

Daniel Ortega with Monsignor Waldemar Stanislav Sommertag and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes. Photo: File, 2018.

According to the government spokesperson, the delegation was headed by the Ortega foreign minister Denis Moncada Colindres; He was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Lilliam Herrera Moreno; the Minister of The Family, Johanna Flores; the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arlette Marenco; the Minister of the Interior, María Amelia Coronel Kinloch and the director of the Institute of Culture, Luis Morales Alonso.

The delegation was present at the Apostolic Nunciature on the morning of this Wednesday, January 4, to present before Monsignor Marcel Mbaye DioufSecretary of the Nunciature, the greeting of the national authorities and sign the book of condolences.

attacks against religious catholics

Researcher and lawyer Martha Patria Molina documented 140 attacks against the Catholic Church and its members in 2022 alone, and there have been more than 400 since April 2018, according to updates to the report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?” In the expert’s opinion, last year was “the most disastrous” for the Church as they were victims of the onslaught of the Ortega Murillo dictatorship.

Related news: Nicaragua enters the black list of countries that violate religious freedom

“Religious people have been victims of unfair criminal proceedings and do not adhere to what the laws mandate, confiscations, kidnappings, hate speech, impediment to freedom of movement, closure of religious Non-Profit Organizations and religious media” Molina listed.

They also suffered deportations, exiles, expulsions, desecrations, robberies, sieges, threats and the prohibition to carry out processions were the most relevant attacks against bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people.

“Since 2018, the Nicaraguan Catholic Church has been experiencing a persecution that threatens religious freedom contemplated in international human rights instruments and the country’s own internal laws,” he recalled.

102 days of kidnapping of Monsignor Álvarez.  Cardenal assures that
Police siege against Monsignor Rolando Álvarez. Photo: Screenshot. August, 2022.

«The increase in attacks is due to the fact that the Nicaraguan Catholic Church remains firm in its faith and principles, preaching the Gospel, which is in itself an announcement and denunciation of the arbitrariness of the powerful in turn. The dictatorship has been incessant and does not give respite to the prelates », she added.

At the beginning of December last year, the United States included Nicaragua on its blacklist of countries that systematically violate religious freedomi, which entails possible sanctions. The list of organizations that violate religious freedom includes, among others, the terrorist groups Al Shabab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State (IS), as well as the Taliban, the Yemeni Houthis and the Russian paramilitaries of the Wagner Group.

Related news: Nicaraguan dictatorship presents Monsignor Rolando Álvarez and accuses him of two alleged crimes

The countries included in the list are subject to possible sanctions such as the cancellation of scientific and cultural exchanges, the suspension of development assistance, the blocking of loans or export restrictions. The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, promised in a statement that his country “will not stand idly by” in the face of religious persecution.

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