Bishop of Matagalpa, in “permanent fasting,” says the regime wants a “dumb church”—and is harassed by the police.
by Massimo Introvigne
After the March expulsion of the Apostolic Nuncio, protested by the Vatican as “incomprehensible,” things in Nicaragua continue to go from bad to worse. The Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, has publicly denounced a continuous harassment by the police, which also targets his family. Father Harvin Padilla of the Diocese of Masaya has also denounced police harassment.
These developments follow a report earlier this month by the National Assembly of Nicaragua, a body controlled by the regime, accusing the Catholic Bishops of having supported in 2018 an attempted “coup” to overthrow the Ortega government.
In 2018, street protests erupted against a controversial social security reform, The demonstrations were supported by the Catholic Church and ended in bloody repression, The police killed more than 300 protesters.
The escalation of intimidation and threats against the Catholic Church led Bishop Álvarez to announce he was entering into a water and whey fasting. His fasting and homilies were largely covered by the popular Catholic cable TV Canal Católico.
On May 20, the government ordered all cable TV providers to eliminate Canal Católico from their offer. The network was thus immediately silenced.
Bishop Álvarez claimed that the regime wants a “dumb church,” adding that the move against Canal Católico proves that Nicaragua is in a situation of dictatorship. He also urged Catholics to pray for the police officers, who follow orders and are themselves victims of the regime.
Meanwhile, Nicaragua continues to be a staunch supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and plans to establish stricter ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as reported on May 25 by Beijing’s “People’s Daily.”
The Communist Party newspaper mentioned that Song Tao, Minister of the International Liaison Department of the CCP Central Committee, attended the opening ceremony of the first cadre network seminar held by CCP and the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua. Song Tao expressed his confidence that “the great achievements and historical experience of the CCP” will help the ruling party of Nicaragua in effectively controlling its country.