Nicaraguan authorities raid Catholic curia
Nicaraguan police Friday raided the home of the Catholic Bishop Matagalpa, Rolando Alvarez, who has been under house arrest for the past two weeks for being overly critical of President Daniel Ortega, whose regime he was accused of trying to destabilize.
The bishop’s detention occurred days after he denounced the closing of five Catholic radio stations and demanded freedom from the authorities.
Police sources said the Diocese of Matagalpa was under investigation for attempting to organize violent groups and inciting hatred to destabilize the State of Nicaragua.
Ortega, a 76-year-old former guerrilla has been in power since 2007, after winning back-to-back reelections. In the last one, in November 2021, all of Ortega’s rivals were either jailed or in exile.
Bishops have been labeled coup plotters since in 2018 they supported opposition protests calling for Ortega’s resignation. Since then, ties between the Catholic Church and Ortega’s administration have been at odds. In addition to closing down Catholic media this year, Father Óscar Benavídez has been arrested for reasons still to be explained, then the Missionaries of Charity Association, of the order of Mother Teresa of Calcutta were outlawed, forcing them to leave the country, as did the Vatican’s nuncio Waldemar Sommertag, who participated in 2019 in negotiations between the government and the opposition, and who has also been expelled.
Amid all these facts, Pope Francis’ reactions have amounted to absolute silence, causing a stir among Catholic parishioners.
After Friday’s raid, Bishop Alvarez and 8 other people, including vicars José Luis Díaz, Sadiel Eugarrios, and Oscar Escoto were taken into custody.