"Not even Fidel Castro dared so much," warns Catholic researcher Leonardo Fernández Otaño after learning of Daniel Ortega's latest offensive against the Nicaraguan Church. According to the newspapers La Prensa and 100% Noticias, and confirmed by several affected priests, the Sandinista regimehas blocked bank accounts of the Catholic Church in recent hours. The measure comes as police officers arrested three Catholic priests this week, one of them on charges of treason.
With the intensification of economic asphyxiation, the dictatorship would seek the closure of some temples and the closure of seminaries. Among the dioceses affected are those of Managua and Matagalpa, whose monsignor, rebel Bishop Rolando Álvarez, remains in a punishment cell since he refused in February to board the plane that transported 222 exiles to the United States.
"War rages against the Catholic Church. More than 520 aggressions and counting," denounced diplomat Arturo McFields, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Having forcibly crushed the opposition, dissidents and much of civil society, forced into exile or jail, Ortega and his wife, co-president Rosario Murillo, have focused their attacks on the Catholic Church, which maintains its presence throughout the country. Already last Holy Week, a good part of the processions were banned and those who dared to go out on the street were persecuted.
"The Sandinista dictatorship is economically suffocating the Church, something it had already been doing in other ways, for example with food aid from Caritas, held for a long time in customs until it was ruined. Without access to bank accounts, churches will have no way to pay the financial commitments that all parishes generate, such as electricity, water, telephone and staff payments. In relation to the houses of formation, it would be difficult to pay for food and teachers. This would force the closure, "details for EL MUNDO the lawyer Martha Patricia Molina, specialist in religious issues.
"This is an unprecedented reality, a kind of Castro 2.0. The same script as Cuba in the last century. Without resources, the Church cannot operate. For all that the Nicaraguan Church has suffered, it does not have the resources of other churches, it puts itself on a par with the Cuban one, only that until now the schools have not intervened," Fernández Otaño told this newspaper.
The revolutionary offensive of the last few hours led to the arbitrary detention of Father Jaime Montesinos, parish priest of the John Paul II Church of Sébaco. The pro-government forces criminalized the father by ensuring that he was driving a vehicle drunk, inside which was a young woman. Instead, they accused him of treason.
Under house arrest are priests Pastor Eugenio Rodriguez and Leonardo Guevara, parish priests of Divine Providence of Jalapa and the Cathedral of Estelí. In prison, in addition to Bishop Alvarez, remain priests Leonardo Urbina and Manuel Garcia.
"On the one hand, Ortega wants to maintain an open letter of negotiation, that's why he has also continued to imprison citizens. But since they are not as visible as the group of 222 exiled to Washington, then they need the accounts of the dioceses," Molina explained to EL MUNDO.
"And on the other, Sandinismo sees the Church as its worst and only internal enemy, because they have already made sure to completely annihilate all democratic scenarios and have almost the entire country under control. Less to the Church, "said the lawyer.
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