Showing posts with label Daniel Ortega. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daniel Ortega. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2022

Another Priest Arrested in Nicaragua

Father Enrique Martínez, parish priest of Santa Martha in Managua, was arrested on October 13.

(Managua) Nicaraguan priest-in-exile Uriel Vallejos lamented the arrest of his fellow brother Enrique Martínez Gamboa by the National Police on Friday. The number of priests arrested in 2022 thus increases to a total of nine, including a bishop.

Vallejos tweeted that Martínez Gamboa, parish priest of Santa Martha in Managua, was "kidnapped" at 5:00 p.m. local time (11:00 p.m. CET) on Thursday.

"Priests and the Catholic Church are demanding his release and an end to the persecution of the Church and clergy," he added.

At the same time, he released a video showing the imprisoned priest speaking to students. The rally was attacked by police and armed militiamen, killing eight protesters. The mood was correspondingly high.

In the video, Martínez Gamboa calls on the students demonstrating against President Daniel Ortega to "don't cuddle"; "Long live Nicaragua"; "Long Live the Mothers of the Fallen of April 19, 2018"; "Long live the doctors, the decent journalists". In the video, the priest can be heard calling President Ortega and his wife, the vice president, a “murder couple” and demanding, “Get out of the palace! Out!".

The National Police have neither confirmed nor denied the arrest of the priest. The Nicaragua Nunca Más human rights organization said his whereabouts are still unknown.

In the past six months, Ortega's police have arrested a total of eight priests and Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa and Apostolic Administrator of Estelí.

Two weeks ago, President Ortega, who describes himself as a “ friend ” of Pope Francis, accused the Catholic Church of being a “dictatorship” and a “perfect tyranny” whose bishops tried to stage “a coup” against his government in 2018.

The arrest of Bishop Álvarez and eight priests, including Martínez Gamboa, is the latest chapter in what has been a particularly turbulent year for Nicaragua's Catholic Church with the Ortega regime branding Catholic leaders as "coup plotters" and "terrorists".

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Twitter/Pbro Uriel Vallejos (Screenshot)

Trans: Tancred


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Has a Deal Been Struck with Sandinistas for Imprisoned Bishop Rolando Álvarez?

Yesterday the Nicaraguan police, better known as "Ortega militias", stormed the Episcopal Curia of Matagalpa and arrested the bishop and several priests, seminarians and laymen.

(Managua) On Friday, Ortega militias stormed the curia of the Diocese of Matagalpa in Nicaragua and arrested Bishop Rolando Álvarez and eight others. Noters of solidarity come from other Nicaraguan dioceses and from the USA. The secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America announced a statement from Pope Francis for Sunday. Nevertheless, it is becoming apparent that this time there will be no papal condemnation of the persecution of the Church.

In July 2021, Pope Francis retired Msgr. Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara SDB, Bishop of Estelí and Secretary General of the Nicaraguan Bishops' Conference, who had been the most fearless critic of the regime among the bishops up to that pointBishop Silvio José Báez, who was critical of the regime, had previously been summoned to Rome in 2019 to remove him from the country. Most recently, Msgr. Rolando Álvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa and since last year also Apostolic Administrator of Estelí, has followed in their footsteps.

In May, Bishop Álvarez went on a hunger strike to protest the repression by the Sandinista regime aimed at 'silencing' the Church. Since then, the climate between the regime and the church has intensified. A number of church organizations were banned, and Catholic radio stations closed.

Since August 4, Bishop Álvarez has been effectively held hostage by the regime, which has had the diocesan curia of Matagalpa besieged by the police. The bishop, some priests and seminarians and two laymen stayed in the building. Bishop Álvarez continued to raise his voice through social media.

Yesterday, Ortega stormed the curia and arrested the bishop, and everyone present.

The national police, dubbed the "Ortega militias" in the country, released a statement saying the bishop and his companions had to be taken into custody for their "destabilizing and provocative activities". The bishop was taken to his family home in Managua and placed under house arrest. His eight companions were transferred to the new El Chipote prison, built specifically for the Ortega regime's political prisoners and notorious for reports of torture. Among the eight prisoners are the priests José Luis Díaz and Sadiel Eugarrios, the two vicars of the Episcopal Church of Matagalpa, the priest Ramiro Tijerino, rector of the Catholic Juan Pablo II University, the priest Raúl González, the two seminarians Darvin Leyva and Melkin Sequeira and the layman Sergio Cárdenas.

El Nuevo Chipote, the infamous prison of the Ortega regime

As first became known, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua and Primate of Nicaragua, had surprisingly been allowed to visit his fellow bishop at the place of his imprisonment.

"The Pope's silence does not mean inaction"

One of the first reactions came from the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Rodrigo Guerra, a staunch Bergoglian who had traveled throughout Latin America for years to defend the controversial post-synodal exhortation Amoris laetitia and the opening of access to Communion. Guerra told Aleteia that Pope Francis would soon give a statement on the situation in Nicaragua. With this allowed at the Angelus are expected on Sunday. So far, Santa Marta has been silent on the Sandinista persecution of the Church - because Francis has great sympathy for socialist regimes. Ortega himself accuses the Church in Nicaragua of preparing a coup d'etat, but calls Pope Francis a "friend".

The euphemistic police communiqué

Rodrigo Guerra stressed that Pope Francis is "well aware of what is happening in Nicaragua". The head of the Church was “very well informed about Nicaragua and his silence does not mean inaction or indecisiveness, no, nothing like that. It means that work is being done on other levels. And of course, if the Holy Father thinks it wise, he will intervene.”

“I wouldn't be surprised if, after the imprisonment of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, the Pope will make a first statement, perhaps on Sunday when he will say the Angelus prayer. That wouldn't surprise me. But that is the external problem. The Holy See works mainly with discreet diplomacy.”

According to Guerra, he himself is involved in the matter, since there is no apostolic nuncio in Nicaragua. Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag had been effectively expelled from the country by the Ortega regime in the spring.

“Yes, they believe that politics is primarily made through speeches and that the absence of a public statement from the Pope means that the Holy See is abandoning the Nicaraguan bishops or becoming an accomplice to the dictatorships. No, it's not like that," says Guerra.


Guerra, who is Mexican himself, made a somewhat strange comparison with the Mexican Cristeros a hundred years ago:

"In this regard, we must be very careful, because that is not the most desirable direction: entering into an armed conflict with a government. On the contrary, we must always try to favor peaceful means, even if they are slower but less bloody."


It was not the Cristeros who had started an armed conflict with the Masonic government. It was the regime that wanted to brutally strangle and wipe out the Church. The Cristeros were the answer of a desperate people. They were crushed with brutal violence by the officially "liberal" Mexican regime under the indifferent gaze of the US, which otherwise intervened repeatedly throughout Latin America.

A negotiated deal?

Cardinal Brenes published a very low-threshold statement on behalf of the Archdiocese of Managua, in which he expressed his solidarity with "the sister diocese of Matagalpa" but did not mention those arrested - neither Bishop Álvarez nor his companions - nor the storming of the episcopal curia and the arrests.

From this it is concluded that the rumors that Cardinal Brenes, with the support of Santa Marta, negotiated a deal for Bishop Álvarez with the regime are correct. Accordingly, the bishop does not go to prison, but has to leave the country and go into exile. That is also the reason why Cardinal Brenes was surprisingly admitted to Bishop Álvarez: to tell him about the deal and to convince him of it. After Bishop Báez, who has lived in Florida since 2019, Monsignor Álvarez would be the second bishop to have to leave the country to avoid arrest. Nicaragua would lose another leading dissident voice. A victory for the regime. A bishop in exile, see Msgr. Báez, is less dangerous than a bishop in prison. Since Msgr Álvarez is too young to let him become emeritus like Bishop Mata Guevara, harsher measures were resorted to. With the bishop's exile, the Sandinista regime is able to maintain its climate of intimidation and deterrence. 

With that, however, the likelihood of the reaction from Santa Marta promised by Rodrigo Guerra, that Pope Francis would denounce the persecution of the Church and the Ortega dictatorship, has decreased significantly again. Will one price of the deal be that Santa Marta will continue to exercise restraint? You will know tomorrow.

In contrast to the US government, the bishops of the USA showed solidarity with the church in Nicaragua. The American Bishops' Conference noted that "threats to the Catholic Church in Nicaragua are increasing amid the local social and political crisis."

The background

From 1979 to 1990, the Marxist-revolutionary Sandinistas under Daniel Ortega and the Cardenal brothers ruled Nicaragua dictatorially with a mixture of communism and liberation theology. No sooner had the Eastern bloc collapsed than the Sandinista regime fell. 

Due to the quarrels between the bourgeois parties, Daniel Ortega managed to return to power in 2006 with only 38 percent of the votes, this time through a democratic process. Conveniently, before the polls were held, the electoral law had been changed so that someone with 35 percent of the votes could be elected head of state or government. Since then, Ortega and the Sandinistas have been determined not to be ousted from power a second time.

The systematically erected Ortega regime changed the constitution and the electoral law in his favour, abolished the de facto separation of powers, abused the judiciary to fight political competitors and used the police and army mercilessly against its own citizens. Hundreds of people were killed in the crackdown on civil protests in 2018. 

After the Sandinistas eliminated or brutally controlled the opposition, the Church attracted their attention because it was able to retain some leeway. The Church became the only free voice in the country, a situation that is intolerable for the Marxist rulers for reasons of power politics, especially for the superstitious and paranoid Rosario Murillo, Ortega's wife and also his vice president.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image : Articulo66/Google Maps/Policia Nacional/ (Screenshots)

Trans: Tancred


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Police State Nicaragua

On Saturday, Nicaraguan National Police surrounded Managua Cathedral to obstruct a prayer "for the Church and for Nicaragua."

For the First Time in 30 Years, a Procession Has Been Halted -- Priest Arrested

(Managua) The anti-Church measures in Nicaragua are becoming open repression. Nevertheless, Pope Francis is silent on the persecution, as it showed itself this weekend.

Events in the Central American country are unfolding. In Managua, the police had surrounded the cathedral. In various parts of the country, the processions for the feast of the Assumption of Mary had been banned. The prelude was the ban on a procession planned for August 13. An unprecedented event in the history of the country since the end of the Sandinista revolutionary government in 1990. The Sandinista regime cited "a threat to internal security" as the reason.

With this justification, the ban on a large procession "for the Church and for Nicaragua" was first imposed. This procession had been planned for August 13 at the end of the Marian Congress. In the procession, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima was to be carried through the streets of Managua.

The police extensively monitored the area around the congress and obstructed the faithful from reaching the congress grounds. Buses and cars were stopped, the people checked and partly prevented from continuing their journey. The Archdiocese of Managua, because of the ban on the procession, called on the faithful to come to the cathedral after the end of the Marian Congress to pray for the aforementioned petitions.

Sandinista hostility to the Church: "Demons in cassocks"

Head of state and government Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo accuse the church of planning a coup d'état in 2018 to put an end to Sandinista rule. In reality, the ecclesiastical hierarchy had sought mediation between the socialist regime and the people who had gathered in the streets for mass protests. Ortega brutally suppressed the protests. Hundreds of people were killed. Since then, the Church has been subjected to numerous harassments and has been openly persecuted for months. The reason for this is that Ortega and Murillo are convinced that the critics of the regime gather in the protection of the Church, which is why they see in every procession and every prayer an anti-regime rally.

Police contingent for intimidation and ready to access

On Twitter, a user wrote on the news that the police had surrounded the cathedral of Managua:

"If it is an attack to attend Mass, FAITH is the only thing this dictatorship is afraid of." 

Ortega's wife, who has served as vice president since 2017, attacks the Church almost daily, calling priests "imposters" and "manipulators." 

Ortega himself described the country's bishops as "demons with cassocks." In the past two months alone, the Ortega-Murillo couple has closed eleven radio stations and five television stations. Most of them were under Church sponsorship. Most recently, the regime closed Radio Darío in the city of León last Friday.

Bishop Álvarez of Matagalpa is held "hostage" by the police in his Curia, as his confrere Msgr. Baéz criticized. Álvarez criticized the government's measures on Twitter:

"They have shut down all our radio stations, but they will not silence the Word of God."


Since August 4th, the police have been besieging the diocesan curia of Matagalpa. Since then, the bishop has been held in it together with several priests, some seminarians and two laymen. As he continues his criticism via social networks, the regime has since initiated criminal proceedings against him for allegedly "organizing violent groups" and "inciting hatred."

In various parts of the country, Monday, on the feast of the Assumption, the police prohibited priests from carrying out traditional processions or other activities outside the churches.

Yesterday, the country's Episcopal Conference also criticised the arrest of priests without being accused of anything. [Reminds one of the treatment the FFI got from Bergoglio and Volpe.] For example, the diocese of Siuna in the north of the country announced the arrest of Don Oscar Benavidez of the Holy Spirit Church in Mulukukú. The priest had been arrested on Sunday afternoon "without giving reasons or motives". The diocese demanded information from the state about the whereabouts of the priest. However, the police refused to confirm the arrest themselves.

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights CENDIH announced that the priest was "taken out of his vehicle and taken away in a patrol car in an unknown direction," and called for "an end to the persecution of the Church and its clergy."

Mulukukú was a center of anti-Sandinista resistance in the first Ortega dictatorship in the 80s.

"No freedom of religion, no freedom of expression"

Nicaraguan priest Edwin Román, who lives in exile in the U.S., told VOA News that in Nicaragua there is "no freedom of religion, no freedom of expression, no freedom of movement."

Bishop Silvio José Báez, who expressed his solidarity with Bishop Álvarez on Twitter, also lives in exile in the USA today. According to official language regulations, the regime critic had asked Pope Francis in 2019 to release him from his office as auxiliary bishop of Managua. In reality, Francis had presented his head to the regime by calling him – "for his safety" – to the Vatican. Initially, it was said that he would be given a new task there until his return to Nicaragua would be possible again. But that was not the case. Bishop Báez was not given a task in Rome out of consideration for the Ortega regime. Instead, the Carmelite was assigned a Jesuit community in Florida as his place of residence. [Imagine the stench of iniquity?]

For years, the Church has been in a field of tension that weighs heavily on it. While the Church in Nicaragua is being persecuted more and more brutally, Pope Francis is silent on this while dictator Ortega calls Francis his "friend." Neither on Sunday nor yesterday did Francis comment on the events in Nicaragua at the Angelus in St. Peter's Square.

The "friendship" could be captured in pictures last Saturday, when the entrances to the Marian Congress in Managua were monitored by the police and the cathedral was surrounded by national police. Nevertheless, several thousand Nicaraguans managed to reach the cathedral and pray there "for the Church and for Nicaragua".

The area around the cathedral, located in the center of the capital, was the scene of large mass protests against the Ortega regime in 2018. Since then, public rallies have been suppressed by the state. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua and Primate of Nicaragua, said on August 13th, apparently addressing the government: "Lord forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Characteristic of the repressive climate in Nicaragua, the mask requirement still enforced in the summer of 2022 due to an alleged corona threat that applies even to outdoor gatherings.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Twitter (Screenshots)

Trans: Tancred


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Pope Sends Felicitations to Murderous Sandanistas

Papal sympathies for the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega

Edit: earlier, he called down divine wrath upon them.  What happened? 

(Managua) On August 30th, US columnist and native Argentinian Andrés Oppenheimer lamented Pope Francis' silence on the situation in Nicaragua. Oppenheimer called the papal behavior "shameful" and demanded an opinion on the "death of at least 322 people in the past four months in protests against the government." Other sources speak of over 400 dead killed by government units or paramilitary groups affiliated with the left-wing government. Meanwhile, it was known that Pope Francis would take a position, just not in the sense of Oppenheimer.

Anyone who has known the history of Nicaragua since the 1970s knows how much the local Jesuits and Marxist liberation theology had on the Sandinista revolution, the overthrow of Somoa and the establishment of a socialist dictatorship. In connection with Pope John Paul II's visit to Nicaragua in 1983, this break through the middle of the Church became particularly visible internationally. In the 1980s, the Western European New Left came up with enthusiasm for what was then the latest "socialist experiment.”

While the Jesuit and Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal in 1958 greeted John Paul II at the airport, sarcastically falling to his knees, he was greeted at the same time with a question that he defied the call to resign his ministry, as Church law prohibits clerics from the exercise of political office. At the adjoining Pope's Mass in Managua, the regime and its clerical supporters occupied the square in front of the Pope's pavillion with convinced Sandinistas who whistled and shouted at the Pope. That was the tolerance of Catholic Marxists towards the Pope.

In 1983, the Sandinists, whether clerical or anticlerical, and their European supporters saw the pope in Rome as an enemy. In 2018 they will see one of their own in him.

Tempora mutantur.

Greetings from Pope Francis to Comandante Ortega

As it is now known, Pope Francis actually commented on Nicaragua on August 31, a day after Oppenheimer's column, albeit quite differently from what the columnist had hoped.

Pope Francis sent a message of greeting to Nicaraguan Sandinista President Daniel Ortega via the Apostolic Nunciature in Managua. The occasion was the National Day, celebrated on 15 September, commemorating the 197th anniversary of the country's independence from Spain.

Yesterday, the "Comrade" Rosario Murillo, Vice President of Nicaragua and wife of President Ortega, "pleased" the public announced the contents of the papal letter.

"I deeply appreciate the wonderful, fitting letter of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to Comandante Daniel Ortega and the people of Nicaragua. And we appreciate the attention of Lord Nuncio, with whom he sent us the letter of the Holy Father, that we might celebrate together in these days of the Fatherland and of the heart.”

And what exactly did Pope Francis write to the Comandante?

"His Excellency, Mr. José Danel Ortega Saavedra
President of the Republic of Nicaragua
On the occasion of the National Day of Nicaragua, I cordially greet all the sons and daughters of this beloved land and assure you of my prayer that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will grant you the graces of a brotherly reconciliation and a peaceful and united life together.
Francis PP. "

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Picture: MiL
Trans: Tancred
What happened?