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Nicaraguan bishop arrested by the Daniel Ortega regime

by Yucatan Times
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Federal police stormed the home of a Catholic bishop in northern Nicaragua at dawn on Friday and detained one of President Daniel Ortega’s most prominent remaining critics as the government moved ever closer to silencing all dissent in the Central American country.

Authorities placed the bishop, the Rev. Rolando Álvarez, under house arrest at his parents’ home in Managua, the capital. Five priests and two seminarians who were with him at his residence in Matagalpa were locked up in El Chipote, the notorious prison where more than 100 of the president’s opponents have been jailed.

The government said in a statement that the bishop had “persisted in his destabilizing and provocative activities.” It did not elaborate or say what legal charges the Catholic leader was facing. Two weeks ago, police surrounded his residence, saying he was under investigation for allegedly sponsoring violent anti-government groups, a charge he denies. The government’s spokeswoman, Rosa Murillo — Ortega’s wife and vice president — did not respond to a message seeking comment.

In the past year, Ortega’s government has jailed nearly all his best-known opponents, including seven politicians who had been expected to seek the presidency last November. His government has also shut down hundreds of civil society groups, as well as universities and media organizations, in one of the most intense waves of repression in the hemisphere.

It has engaged in an increasingly bitter feud with religious leaders in the majority-Catholic country, closing eight Catholic radio stations and expelling the Vatican’s ambassador, the Rev. Waldemar Sommertag. Authorities also expelled 18 nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, who had been helping run shelters and orphanages.

Relations between Ortega and the church soured after the government cracked down on nationwide protests in 2018, prompting street battles that left more than 360 dead, according to human rights groups. When Catholic bishops called for justice, the Ortega government accused them of fomenting a coup. Several priests and a prominent bishop, Silvio Báez of Managua, have gone into exile.

Government critics said Álvarez’s detention was stunning even by the standards of a country whose democracy had shriveled.

TYT Newsroom

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