World Watch Ranking: 30

What does persecution look like in Nicaragua?

Hostility toward Christians in Nicaragua continues to intensify, with those who speak out against President Ortega and his government viewed as destabilising agents.

The situation has deteriorated significantly since 2018, when widespread protests broke out against the country’s dictatorial regime. Christians have been among those to raise their voice—but it’s coming at an alarming cost.

Christian leaders have been harassed and arrested, Christian properties seized, Christian schools, TV stations and charities closed, and churches monitored and intimidated. Even those who provided shelter and medical assistance during the protests in 2018 continue to suffer retribution years later. Last Easter, police banned processions during Holy Week. Recent changes to the law have been used to label church leaders as terrorists and coup-plotters, and there are suggestions that the government wants to control church affairs such as tithes and offerings.

The government’s aim is not simply to silence the voice of Christians but, given their influence in the country, to hinder their credibility and stop their message from spreading.

It should be noted that while many Christians are in the firing line, there are a minority of believers who either out of fear or conviction are choosing to keep quiet. Among some church communities, this is causing division, which is arguably playing further into the government’s hands.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Given the government's totalitarian control over Nicaragua, persecution is present throughout the country and at all levels. Those who express opposition to the government's dictatorial measures are likely to face verbal and physical aggression from government officials and other regime supporters.

Meet "Pastor Wilber"

"Even though I'm on their list of people to watch, I am in God's hands, we are all in God's hands, and we will continue to work to spread His Word."

What has changed this year?

In the last year, the situation for Christians continues to deteriorate rapidly. The government, led by President Ortega and his wife, regularly attack dissident voices—especially those in the church, due to its voice of authority. Church leaders (mainly from the Roman Catholic Church) and some committed believers are frequent targets of government hostility and face prosecution, arbitrary arrests, unjust sentences, expulsions, forced exile, closures and confiscation of church properties they manage. The situation has gotten bad enough that it has driven condemnations from the international community.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Nicaragua?

Open Doors strengthens the persecuted church in Nicaragua by providing Christian literature, discipleship training, emergency relief aid, legal advice, and education for pastors who have not completed their studies.

How can you pray for Nicaragua?

  • Ask God to soften the hearts of President Ortega and his government and cause them to stop targeting Christians.
  • Pray that church leaders under surveillance will be given wisdom and courage as they serve their congregations and communities.
  • Pray that God would work through Open Doors to strengthen the church to stand strong for Jesus.
a PRAYer for Nicaragua

Father God, thank You for the bravery of Christians in Nicaragua. May those who are suffering for speaking out be empowered in their faith rather than left despondent. Heal all hurts, and give believers continued wisdom, courage and protection as they follow You in an increasingly hostile environment. Unite the church through this difficult time, may there be grace and love for one another as people respond to the challenges in different ways. Holy Spirit, move powerfully in the hearts of President Ortega and his government, may they be attentive to the concerns, needs and values of Christians in Nicaragua. Amen.

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Map thumbnail
Persecution Level

Very High

Persecution Type
  • Dictatorial paranoia
  • Communist and post-Communist oppression
  • Organized corruption and crime

Population of Christians
6,506,000 (95%)

Main Religion

Presidential Republic

President Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra

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