Dictatorial paranoia Nicaragua | 08 August 2023

Nicaragua: New tactics for suffocating the Church

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The targeted harassment of the Church by the Ortega-Murillo regime continues, at times with some new tactics being tried out:

  • 8 May 2023: The government approved the cancellation of the legal identity of the Diocesan Caritas Association of León, one of the eight branches of “Cáritas de Nicaragua”. This is part of a widescale outlawing of Nicaraguan and foreign NGOs by the government (Swissinfo, 8 May 2023).
  • 27 May 2023: Access to several church bank accounts has been blocked. Various government departments are making accusations of money laundering against dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church (El País, 27 May 2023).
  • 4 July 2023: 4 nuns from a convent in the west of the country in Leon have been forced to leave the country. Police broke into the convent to hasten their departure and the government has ordered the transfer of the convent's assets to the state (Vida Nueva Digital, 5 July 2023).
  • 14 July 2023: The parish priest of the diocese of León, Douglas Ramón Guevara Ávila, went into exile, after being blockaded on several occasions by the police. Others in exile are Roman Catholic priests Juan Carlos Sánchez, who was denied entry to Nicaragua by the Immigration Office and Fernando Zamora Silva, who was also recently arrested (Confidencial, 14 July 2023).

World Watch Research analyst Rossana Ramirez comments: “President Ortega seeks complete state control over Nicaragua and the Church is one of the few social actors remaining in active opposition. As a result, the systematic harassment targeting Catholic priests, churches and organizations has intensified, with the regime using a variety of tactics as can be seen above in the recent series of human rights violations against Christians.”


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