With the Blessed Sacrament in hands, Monsignor Rolando Alvarezbishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, confronted the police and paramilitaries who besiege him and have blocked the episcopal curia since the afternoon of Wednesday, August 3.
The religious, one of the most persecuted by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, asked the uniformed men to “leave the Catholic congregation in peace” and allow them to profess their faith.
The prelate took to the streets accompanied by sacristans and members of the TV Merced media outlet, after the officers prevented two priests, members of the choir, seminarians, and media workers who would participate in the celebration of the mass from entering the curia. Eucharist in the chapel this Thursday, Holy Day.
Through a statement, Monsignor Rolando Alvarez He stated that until the time that God grants him, he will continue, in the Name of the Lord, working to announce hope to the holy people of God. He told the priests that “he knows very well that the burdens are many, the tribulations and that the weight is heavy on his shoulders,” but he reminded them that, according to the Scriptures, the Lord said that “his yoke is easy and the burden light”.
Therefore, he urged them to continue proclaiming hope for the people of Nicaragua. Monsignor Álvarez concluded the statement, addressed to the priests of the Clergy of Matagalpa and the Clergy of Estelí, noting that “he counts on them and they count on him.” He invited them to “go forward, without giving up, together united to God until the end”.
The illegitimate deputy president, Rosario Murillo, began her telephone communication in official media by addressing Catholic leaders whom she described as “evil spirits” who “manipulate sacred symbols.”
Daniel Ortega’s spokeswoman also made it clear that she will do everything in her power to “defend peace.” Murillo’s reaction comes this Thursday, after Monsignor Rolando Álvarez took to the streets of Matagalpa with Jesús Sacramentado in his hands, amid the siege of about 50 policemen, led by Commissioner General Ramón Avellán, according to reports.
Human rights, opposition and general population organizations demanded that the Nicaraguan dictatorship respect religious freedom and cease all acts of repression in the country. Through communiqués, opponents denounced that the regime causes “terror and suffering due to its violent and cowardly actions.” They also demanded that the international community “use all diplomatic means at its disposal” to achieve an end to the repression of Daniel Ortega.
For their part, human rights defenders and activists asked to support Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, who confronted the policemen who besieged the episcopal curia, and called to participate in the Eucharist this Thursday, and join the day of prayer and fasting called by the religious leader.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also called on the State to “immediately cease the harassment and attacks” against the Catholic community, including Church radio and television stations. The organization added that “it is urgent to protect the physical integrity, religious freedom and freedom of expression of all people.”
Republican United States Senator Richard Lynn Scottdenounced on his social networks that “under the oppressive mandate of the Daniel Ortega regime, hundreds of activists for democracy and freedom in Nicaragua such as Yubrank Suazo have been unjustly detained and sentenced to more years in prison just for demanding freedom,” therefore, he called on the government of Joe Biden to «end your despicable appeasement of dictators and join the fight for democracy and freedom in Nicaragua and throughout Latin America.”
The day before, the United States Undersecretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, condemned the attack carried out by the Nicaraguan dictatorship against the Catholic clergy, radio stations and members of the religious community in Sébaco, Matagalpa. Nichols called the attack “brutal” and “another blow to the freedoms of religion and expression” in the country.
The European Union condemned the “arbitrary closure” of seven Catholic radio stations managed by the diocese of Matagalpa, Radio Vos and Canal RB3 of Río Blanco, executed through the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office (Telcor). The block of countries considers that the regime’s actions constitute “another violation of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or beliefs.
In addition, the European Union denounced the use of excessive police force to occupy the premises, intimidate and disperse the protesters with tear gas and gunshots. They assure that they will continue to support the people of Nicaragua in their “legitimate aspiration to democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
This Thursday morning, August 4, the priest Uriel Vallejospastor of the Divina Misericordia church in Sébaco, Matagalpa, managed to leave the parish house where he had been under police siege since August 1.
Sources confirmed to the newspaper La Prensa that the officers left the area at about 10 am on Thursday, which allowed the father, along with the religious brothers who accompanied him, to leave the parish house. The priest managed to survive the three-day confinement, based on “water and bread, and he is in good health, despite the fact that he suffers from diabetes.”