12 August 2022
The Socialist International is deeply concerned by the intimidation and attacks on the Catholic Church, its authorities and places of worship, reported in recent weeks in Nicaragua.
The Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, who remains under house arrest with other religious leaders and parishioners by special forces in his diocese in the north of the country, has become, as have many others, one of the visible faces of an unacceptable persecution with ahistorical overtones. The Bishops’ Conferences of countries in the region and the Episcopal Council of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) have also expressed their concern about these developments and their solidarity with the victims.
These are not, however, isolated acts. The harassment of religious people has been constant since the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference played the role of mediator and criticised the conduct of the Ortega-Murillo pair during the mass protests of 2018, which were violently suppressed and left a toll of hundreds of dead and wounded. In March 2022, the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag was expelled from the country, followed by the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta in July, and prior to that, in 2019, Bishop Silvio Báez was forced into exile.
Daniel Ortega shows once again his absolute and unambiguous disregard for democracy. This time, his persecution targets the Catholic Church, but it previously targeted the cultural sector, the media and a wide variety of civil society organisations, including the century-old Nicaraguan Academy of Language.
The Socialist International reiterates its condemnation of this new attempt to silence and suppress any voice contrary to the Sandinista regime, which seems no longer satisfied with its absolute and illegitimate control over all the powers of the State. Every day, the human rights of the Nicaraguan people are ignored, undermined, and violated. The SI has been and will remain involved in the restoration of democracy in Nicaragua, and works for the respect for the fundamental rights of its people.