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(4,094 posts)
Mon Jan 15, 2024, 02:39 PM Jan 2024

Nicaragua expels Catholic Bishop Alvarez, priests amid crackdown

Last edited Tue Jan 16, 2024, 07:33 PM - Edit history (1)

PLEASE note where you are. Non-Catholics are welcome to comment so long as they follow our rules.


Nicaragua said it expelled 19 clergymen to the Vatican on Sunday, including Catholic Bishop Rolando Alvarez, a prominent critic of President Daniel Ortega.

Bishop Isidoro Mora, 15 priests and two seminarians who were detained in Nicaragua were also expelled.


Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, forcefully criticized the government's deadly response to mass protests in 2018, and was convicted of treason and sentenced to a 26-year prison term earlier this year.


Mora was arrested in December for saying at a mass that he was praying for Alvarez, sources said.

More info, for those who aren't familiar with this situation:

The Catholic Church has been targeted by the Ortega government since 2018, when a wave of nationwide protests rocked the country. The church took a leading role in trying to mediate a political solution to the crisis, which took the lives of more than 300 people, most of them killed by Nicaragua’s security services. Angered by the church’s role, Ortega accused it of being part of a plot to topple his government. (Ortega tinkered with the country's retirement, which led to protests, which led to the more than 300 deaths. It's my understanding that government forces shot into the crowd.)

The outspoken Álvarez, bishop of the city of Matagalpa, had been in prison for almost a year after receiving a 26-year sentence for treason. The prelate previously refused to go into exile with 222 other political prisoners who were stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship and expelled to the U.S. Mora, the bishop of Siuna, was detained in December after he asked for prayers for Álvarez at a mass.


In October, Ortega’s government released and expelled 12 priests. Since 2018, more than 200 Catholic clergy have been forced into exile or refused re-entry to Nicaragua, according to Martha Patricia Molina, a Nicaraguan academic now living in Miami who keeps a tally of government actions taken against the church.

Twelve religious orders including the Jesuits, to which the pope belongs, and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, have been kicked out of Nicaragua, Molina said. The Ortega government has also confiscated Catholic universities such as the Jesuit-run Central American University, which the government said was a center for terrorism.

I can remember when Jimmy Carter was mentoring Ortega, who'd had just lost a campaign for office. Carter told him that in a democracy you have winners and losers and that in order for democracy to work, losers must lose gracefully. How far both countries have fallen.

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