Lockdown is not enough. The National Police, on the one hand, and the unofficial spokespersons, on the other, carry out the order of the “We are going with everything” against Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez, who since last Thursday morning has been besieged by dozens of police and riot police in the Episcopal Curia of Matagalpa. the prelate He remains locked up together with five religious and six lay people. “We are in the hands of God,” said the Catholic leader, at noon this Friday, August 5.
At the beginning of the civic protests of April 2018, the order of the “let’s go with everything” —given by the first lady and vice president Rosario Murillo— resulted in the first murders of protesters. Today, against Álvarez, it has meant an increase in the police siege, and a smear campaign from the regime’s propaganda media, headed by Murillo herself. “You cannot sow hatred or discord, on the contrary, we have to work in peace, with love, without hatred, without evil, without bitterness and without poison,” said the first lady, without mentioning the name of Rolando Álvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí.
“The rejection of the person who provokes, and the growing rejection of what we have all known throughout our lives as institutions that deserve respect, and generate discredit towards those institutions, which also deserve respect, is a crime, it is a sin against spirituality”, added Murillo, in his daily speech in the official media.
The first lady, without mentioning the name, referred for the second consecutive day to the bishop of Matagalpa. “Tthere are still some characters who are buffoonish, who make a fool of themselves, without any moral stature, characters who believe that time has not elapsed, or characters who believe they can occupy positions of authority that perhaps they do not deserve.”, affirmed the vice president on Thursday, after Álvarez left the Curia to the street, knelt on the sidewalk and raised his hands to heaven, and received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament from a collaborator and with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands he walked among the officials, praying, singing and praying that bullying will stop.
Through an opinion article —published in the regime’s media under the title “That Bishop”—, the now Ortega deputy, Wilfredo Navarro, maintained that Álvarez incites “to violence, to disorder to people and he already did it in 2018”. The former Liberal leader He repeated the speech of Daniel Ortega and Murillo, pointing to the priests as leaders of the failed coup, as they call the social outbreak of 2018, in which the people demanded the departure of the Sandinista Front from power.
“He (Álvarez) led, along with other priests, the failed coup that caused so much pain and crying in Nicaragua. He led the coup and the blood of the Nicaraguans, the policemen and the Sandinistas who were assassinated for their incitement to violence and for their political appeal is shed on his head, because his attitude is and has been eminently political and false”accused the deputy without evidence.
Through a publication on his Facebook profile, Carlos Emilio López, also an Ortega deputy, referred to the priests, pointing out that there are “false” that have “Appearance of piety, meekness, mystical attitude, but in reality they are warlike, instigators, instigators of violence, chaos, disharmony, conflict and spiritual and material war”.
Threats for allegedly breaking the law
Navarro, who is characterized by having a frontal speech against the opposition and the Church, said that the bishop “he is not above the law. His cassock does not give him impunity and furthermore he has no morals or authority to claim, because he and other priests are responsible for crimes”.
In January 2021, the Parliament dominated by the Sandinista Front approved a reform to the Penal Codethe Comprehensive Law against Violence against Women, and the Political Constitution to punish “hate crimes” with life imprisonment, which according to critics of the Ortega regime, would be nothing more than another legal weapon used against the opposition.
Also, in May a report was released, after consultations with victims of the repression related to the Ortega regime, who demanded justice for “the religious and directors of human rights organizations that were involved in the coup adventure.” Again, analysts and human rights defenders considered the initiative as a prelude to greater repression against the Church and priests, who have been victims of multiple attacks.
Murillo pointed out that “flaunting impunity is a crime, especially when what is provoked is discord, debauchery”. For his part, Navarro said that “the priests also participated in the coup were amnestied and in the amnesty was the non-repetition”threatened.
The Ortega regime has two priests behind bars: Manuel García and Leonardo Urbina, both accused of common crimes; however, their processes have been full of irregularities according to law specialists consulted.
Crusade of fasting and prayer
Bishop Álvarez celebrated a Eucharist this Friday from the Episcopal Curia. In the homily he reflected: “We, the twelve who are gathered in the name of the Lord in this chapel of mercy and the Eucharist and held by the police forces, are wanting from our poor and limited forces to carry this cross, to renounce ourselves.
“We think —he continued— of you, of the faithful people of God… we are not looking at ourselves, wanting to safeguard ourselves or our lives. We are in the hands of God. All of us twelve who are here are aware that we are only in their hands, in the hands of the Lord who is Almighty”.
Monsignor Álvarez recalled that they are on a crusade of fasting, prayer and adoration for the Church, the priests and Nicaragua. At the same time, he called on the people to keep “hope alive,” “to stay strong in love and to live in the freedom of the children of God,” with the certainty that the “Lord will restore Nicaragua,” he said. the.
He also advocated the need to seek “together, without exclusion, paths of encounter and understanding, where we can sit at the table and the main place of it, is occupied by the poor, the peasants”; and he recalled that despite the circumstances in which they find themselves, locked up by the Police, they maintain their capacity for dialogue, harmony, understanding and fraternity.
Álvarez reported that as long as they are held, until now, without knowing the reasons for the police action, he will celebrate a Eucharist at noon and a sung at 8:00 pm He thanked the parishioners, parishes, bishops and other Church entities that They have shown solidarity with the situation they are going through.
“As long as you keep us, here in our Curia, we don’t know until when, we don’t know the reason or the reason, we will be celebrating with you, every day at 12 noon,” he said.
CELAM expresses solidarity with the Church in Nicaragua
The Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) expressed solidarity with the Church in Nicaragua, joining the suffering “that a large part of the people of Nicaragua live and the Church that pilgrims”its faithful and pastors “in the face of the constant harassment that he has been suffering from government authorities”.
The siege of priests and bishops, the expulsion of members of religious communities, the desecration of temples and the closure of radio stations “they hurt us deeply”CELAM said in a statement on August 5.
At the same time they invited the brothers in Latin America and the Caribbean to join in prayer for the Nicaraguan people, their leaders, authorities and the Church, since “when a member suffers, all the rest, we suffer with him”they expressed.
“We accompany our brothers who through different paths seek to be the voice of those who have no voice, to build a dialogue capable of charting a path of unity and peace.”reads the statement.
The Diocese of Estelí, the clergy of the Diocese of Matagalpa, the clergy of the Diocese of Siuna have also expressed their solidarity with Monsignor Álvarez. Meanwhile, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) has not ruled on the direct aggression against the bishop.
This is the second time that the Ortega regime has imposed a blockade on Bishop Álvarez. Last May, The prelate took refuge in a church in Managua, which was also besieged by the Police, and after a few days he managed to get out with the help of a commission of pastors.
Álvarez is one of the most critical voices of the Church, he recently denounced the injustice of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office (Telcor), by closing ten Catholic stations in the Diocese, arguing that they did not have permission to operate, when the prelate himself had requested since 2016.