After persecuting and censoring the traditional press, Nicaragua is now attacking Catholic radio stations and campaigning against the Church’s presence in the country.
Last month, Expulsion of images of nuns The Missionaries of Charity Association, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, shocked the world when the nuns were escorted by the police to leave the country on foot.
Ignoring the repercussions of the case, Nicaraguan authorities this week shut down media outlets linked to the Catholic Church, occupied religious temples and seized broadcasting equipment.
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Zenith) condemned the Nicaraguan police’s actions against the Church and Catholic radio stations on social media.
On Monday (1st), security forces raided the Church of Menino Jesus de Braga and the Church of the Divine Mercy located in the town of Cebago, Madagalpa, in the north of the country.
At the church, Sebago’s Catholic Radio is one of seven stations in the diocese. Matakalpa. Hours before the invasion, all of these radio stations were shut down by the Instituto Nicaraguans de Telecomunicas e Corrios (Delcor) on the grounds that the vehicles were not licensed to operate.
The affected stations are Radio Hermanos, Radio Santa Lucia in Ciudad Darío, Radio Católica in Cepago, Radio Estranges in San Dionisio, Radio San José in Matiguas, Radio Monte Carmelo in Rio Blanco and Radio da Nuestra Señora de Lourdesnora.
In a memo, Zenith refuted the authorities’ contentions, saying the necessary documents were provided by the diocese and Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, in charge of vehicles, in 2016.
Riot police from the Nicaraguan government blocked the bishop of Matagalpa, José Álvarez Lagos, from leaving the diocesan offices to celebrate Mass on Thursday, Aug. 4.
“I wanted to leave for the cathedral to do the holy hour, the holy Mass, but obviously the higher authorities haven’t given permission, we are here … shut up inside the diocesan offices,” reported Álvarez, who is also the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí.
A video posted Aug. 4 on social media shows the group of riot police, with batons and shields, blocking the way of the bishop and six other priests from leaving.
It is not the first time that the Catholic Church has faced totalitarian regimes in Latin America. The history of past decades accounts for multiple cases.
Some priests came to pay with their lives for their commitment to human rights, such as Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, assassinated in 1980 in El Salvador and canonized in 2018.
The same year that the protests against the Government of Daniel Ortega broke out and the Nicaraguan Church tried to mediate to end the violence. Since then, the Church has been the target of increasingly bitter repression in Nicaragua.
San Miguel Times