Nicaragua Is Where Pope Francis Could Make a Difference

The Havana Times – A few months earlier Pope Francis returned to the Vatican following an eye-opening journey to Canada that made it evident the role played by Canada’s Catholic Church and the genocide that was committed against Indigenous peoples living in the country. He was clearly shocked by the magnitude of the violence that resulted in the death of thousands of children. It was a tragedy that was beyond comprehension. He used the term “genocide” not within Canada but when he returned to his home country.

When he visited Canada He made an “apology” in the wake of the horrible crime he committed but did not talk about compensation within the parameters of the country or institution that is super rich which he is the president. My thoughts were that talk is cheap and is much more affordable than actually doing the right thing within the limits of realistic methods to at the very least pay the descendants of victims in a fair and equitable manner.

However, that, and the countless hundreds of children who are sexually abused around the world, at the hands of Catholic priests, isn’t the primary reason for my current writing. It’s entirely different and is about what’s currently happening in a tiny, impoverished nation located in Central America, Nicaragua.

It is a horrific crime and the repression of the family dictatorship against an entire population and this includes Catholic bishops and priests of the Church who speak out in support of the weak people.

As I write this, As I write, Bishop Rolando Alvarez, five other priests, as well as five Church collaborators are held captive by the Ortega family’s police force in the town of Matagalpa. The most targeted is Alvarez since his comments have riled off vice-dictator Rosario Murillo, who is trying to promote her own brand of religion that claims she is the goddess of all power.

The hostages’ detention is currently on the eleventh day. The food supply for the hostages is reported to be inadequate, and the massive police force is refusing to let anyone take food items or medicine of any sort. Alvarez is being threatened with jail for “endangering the security of the nation” by the same people who are taking over civil society as quickly as they are able to.

The mere fact that Ortega as well as his spouse are adamantly in support of his wife’s support for the Russian attack on Ukraine and the supreme chief Vladimir Putin, should be enough to appreciate the morality and compassion of their government.

Yesterday, I read a column on the subject written by journalist Andres Oppenheimer who was the only non-independent journalist to speak with Daniel Ortega back in the midst of the fatal arrest of peaceful protesters in the year 2018 column was released in The Miami Herald.

A few days earlier there was a mass of Nicaraguan exile groups and their supporters wrote to the Pope inquiring him to intervene on behalf of the victims of the repression, particularly in the situation of Rolando Alvarez and those being detained by his hostage.

Being aware of how difficult it will be for the Pope to determine the right course of action in relation to the grave injustice done by his Institution within Canada against indigenous peoples, a firm condemnation of Nicaragua and its political prisoners of 190+ and steadfast and consistent assistance to Bishop Alvarez and Nicaragua’s priests in jail and being persecuted could be a lot more straightforward to come up with, and at the very least demonstrate the genuine compassion that his followers have come to expect from his.

Pope Francis so far has been silent about the crackdown in Nicaragua on radio stations operated under the Catholic Church. It’s difficult to say which is more shocking Nicaragua’s dictator Daniel Ortega’s decision to close seven Roman Catholic Church radio stations and put a bishop as well as his staff under house arrest or Pope Francis’ total silence about the attacks on his own family.

Ortega as well as his spouse Vice-President Rosario Murillo, closed down the Roman Catholic radio stations on August. 1. They were operated under the Diocese Matagalpa, which is a northern Nicaragua department, whose bishop is Rolando Alvarez, is a frequent criticism of the ruling couple’s human rights abuses.

After the radio stations’ closure, the police of Ortega forced entry into the Divine Mercy parish in the Matagalpa town of Sebago which was the home of one of the stations. The church broadcast the entry and the forced entry of officers live via Facebook.

A few days later, heavily armed police were able to stop Alvarez along with six Catholic priests accompanying priests from leaving their homes. The priests and bishop remain in house detention since the incident, according to the Catholic News Agency reported.

The Ortega-Murillo government accuses Alvarez as well as his clergy of trying to “organize violence-prone groups” to undermine the state. The government in March threw out Papal Nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag from the country.

There’s no doubt of the fact that it is true that the Ortega regime is waging one of the most brutal campaigns of repression against political opposition throughout the Western world.

Since the start in the new year, the government has shut down 1,406 non-government organizations that range from small theater production companies to international organizations that make sure that residents of the areas that are stricken by poverty are able to access health foods and services, as per Nicaragua’s Confidencial magazine. The magazine, as every other independent media has been closed in Nicaragua and is published online from the neighboring Costa Rica.

Ortega won reelection in a fraudulent vote in 2021 after he banned major opposition parties and imprisoning seven of the nation’s top presidential candidates. They are all in jail or in house arrest until the present.

In the year 2018, over 300 Nicaraguans were killed and more than 2,000 wounded by the police force of Ortega and paramilitary soldiers during massive protests against the government. When I spoke to Ortega at his home in Managua in 2018 He accused human-rights organizations of generating the death numbers, and told him that the dead count was only 195.

Carlos Fernando Chamorro, the editor of Confidencial magazine, informed me that Ortega may be cracking into the Church since it’s “the only civil-society space that’s left in Nicaragua.” But what’s difficult to comprehend is the reason Pope Francis has yet to condemn or even mention the Ortega regime’s attack against his own church. A Vatican representative of the Organization released a statement on Friday after a little more than an entire week after the closure of radio stations, that expressed “concern” regarding the situation in Nicaragua. However, there’s not been any official statement about the situation from Pope Francis.

“Pope Francis’s silence on the ongoing persecution of members of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church is unacceptable,” Tamara Taraciuk, an Latin American expert with the Human Rights Watch advocacy group I spoke to. “Considering that Nicaragua’s Catholic priests are taking risks to speak out against Ortega’s abuses, what’s the pope awaiting to declare their favor?”

The pope’s inability to issue an announcement on Nicaragua is the result of several shocking errors he has made in the last few months. The pope has not yet travel to Ukraine as it was the site of the largest foreign incursion of Europe ever since World War II. But, he was able to find the opportunity to take an excursion of six days to Canada in the last month to express his regrets for the church’s sins during the 19th century, and later during the 1970s.

Nicaraguan tragedy has been Nicaraguan catastrophe has been hidden in the media midst of the Ukraine conflict, China-U.S. tensions about Taiwan and the ongoing investigation of former President Trump’s possible theft of classified White House documents. However, what’s going on in Nicaragua must be condemned by human rights defenders and democracy advocates all over the world, beginning at Pope Francis.

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