Ortega tries to impose normality in a Matagalpa “sore” by the kidnapping of Monsignor Álvarez

The incessant ringing of the bells in the Cathedral of San Pedro, located in the center of the city of Matagalpa, was the warning of one of the bloodiest attacks by the Ortega regime on the Catholic Church in recent history.

“Catalina” listened to them with fear, thinking about the safety of Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, priests and laity, confined for 15 days in the city’s Episcopal Curia, where they were besieged by armed riot police. A look at his phone and there it was: the police had broken into the compound during the early hours and took the religious leader and his collaborators by force. “She was shocked, worried and sad. I only imagined the worst,” she said disconsolately.

The operation occurred a little after 3 am this Friday, August 19. The stage was arranged to have minimal or almost no witnesses to the assault, followed by the kidnapping, carried out by Commissioner General Sergio Gutiérrez, head of Matagalpa, under the supervision of Commissioner General Ramón Avellán, deputy director of the Police and Daniel Ortega’s faithful file. and Rosario Murillo.

The arrival of Avellán in Matagalpa was warned by the Matagalpa parishioners as synonymous with the coming of greater repression. He was at the forefront of the bloody Operation Clean-up in Masaya in 2018, and directed the harassment against Father Edwing Román, currently in exile due to threats from Ortega operators.

In addition to Monsignor Álvarez, the priests José Luis Díaz and Sadiel Eugarrios, first and second vicar of the Matagalpa cathedral of San Pedro, respectively, were kidnapped; Ramiro Tijerino, rector of the John Paul II University and in charge of the San Juan Bautista parish; and Raul Gonzalez. The seminarians Darvin Leyva and Melkin Sequeira and the cameraman Sergio Cárdenas. All of them are in El Chipote for “inquiries,” according to a police note.

The Police confirmed that Father Óscar Escoto, pastor of the Santa María de Guadalupe church, was left in the Curia, under the direct surveillance of three agents. The argument of the Police is that they requested the permanence of Father Escoto to hand over the Curia to someone, although the house is still occupied by police officers.

A facade of normality in Matagalpa

After the assault on the Curia, the traffic of caravans of police patrols, loaded with riot gear, through the main streets of Matagalpa, ceased. The police cordon that extended around the four cardinal points of the episcopal building, located in the heart of Matagalpa’s commerce, was reduced to a single block, guarded by some 15 to 20 agents, including riot police and traffic police, residents confirmed. under anonymity.

In an attempt to “normalize” the atmosphere of terror created by the police siege of dozens of agents moving around with long weapons and requesting an identity card from anyone who needed to pass through the Curia sector to get to their jobs, Ortega’s propaganda released a series of photographs of traffic officers assisting retirees who arrived at the offices of the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS), located opposite one of the sides of the pastoral building, to claim payment of their monthly benefits.

In a police note, published seven hours after the assault on the Curia, the Police assured that for several days they waited “with great patience, prudence, and a sense of responsibility for a positive communication from the Bishopric of Matagalpa that never materialized” and that at persist “the destabilizing and provocative activities”, the “public order” operation became necessary.

Monsignor Álvarez was confined in his pastoral residence on August 4, when the Police prevented him from moving. The police justification was that Álvarez was being investigated for allegedly “organizing violent groups” and “carrying out acts of hate.”

This Friday, the Police said in their statement that the “provocative” activities continued and therefore, the operation that ended with Monsignor Álvarez being held under “house arrest” in Managua, and his seven companions in El Chipote prison, was necessary.

Inside the Curia, monsignor and the priests they dedicated themselves to praying, praying and preaching the Gospel through homilies, transmitted through the official social media accounts of the Diocese of Matagalpa, and they were always open to dialogue.

For “Rosa”, a nun who agreed to speak with CONFIDENTIAL under anonymity, this Friday he dressed with a “painful awakening”, despite the fact that they sensed that the Police could take Monsignor Álvarez.

“You feel a sad atmosphere, desolate like that Good Friday – in reference to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – but with hope on Easter Sunday,” he described.

He assured that upon learning that Bishop Álvarez was still in jail, as he was in Matagalpa, he condemned the police action that justified “returning to normality”, arguing that it was the agents who had been in charge of affecting commerce and life. normal in the northern city. The same prelate pointed out to the Police that they are the ones who have created disorder in a town that only wants peace.

The attacks against the bishop are led by Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega, who have publicly described the priests as “terrorists” and “coup plotters.” Murillo attacked, without mentioning the name of Monsignor Álvarez, saying that in the country “there are laws” and “generating discredit towards those institutions that deserve respect is also a crime, it is a sin against spirituality,” he warned.

They were treated like “criminals”

“Carlos” is a priest from the southeastern part of the country. Finding out about the kidnapping of Monsignor Álvarez was a “hard blow” with resonance throughout Nicaragua, which is aware of the persecution faced by the Catholic Church, says from his parish, where he is constantly watched by police. It is “a strong wound”, he affirms.

“It hit me when I saw the news that they raided the parish house and took him away. I am convinced that he went by force, by pushing. They didn’t grab him like a prince and ride him. No, like any criminal they will have taken him (Monsignor Álvarez) and all the parents who were there, ”said the priest.

The attempts to hide the state attack against the Church run into social networks, warns the priest. For him, the digital space is a meter where the generalized “repudiation” by abusive actions against catholic pastors.

“That is what angers the Government the most, because as much as they do, they are not silencing the Church, and the more they hit the Church, the more they are discrediting and demoralizing themselves because they, conscientiously, know that they have no people, they no longer have weapons and that is why they are mounted in power”, said the priest.

In Matagalpa, where eight of the 28 parishes belonging to the Diocese of that department have been besieged or their priests have been threatened, the churches have not been closed and the congregation is still active. However, “Catalina” assures that “they are very frightened”, and “there are many people who are silenced by the Police”, she confided.

The instructions of the priests before the police attack is that they pray. The pastoral group of “Catalina” stopped meeting in her church and now they do it in other spaces, where they consider they are safer.

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