Nicaraguan Catholics are reportedly more and more upset at Pope Francis for remaining silent because the oppressive Communist regime of dictator Daniel Ortega shuts down Catholic radio stations and sends goon squads to harass protesters.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday denounced the Ortega regime for ordering six radio stations belonging to the Roman Catholic Church to close down.
“Ortega-Murillo’s brutal assault on Catholic clergy, radio facilities and community members in Sebaco is another blow to religious freedom in Nicaragua as well as to the freedom of expression. How can men and women in uniform – many of them people of faith – carry out such orders?” said Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols, referring to Ortega and his vice chairman and spouse, Rosario Murillo.
The radio stations received shutdown orders from Nicaragua’s telecom company Telcor on Monday. Rev. Rolando Alvarez, bishop of Matagalpa province and a tireless critic of Ortega’s non secular repression, denounced the transfer as an “injustice” with no authorized authority.
Monday’s orders introduced the entire variety of Catholic radio stations silenced in Matagalpa to eight, plus an award-winning youth-oriented feminist station referred to as Radio Vos.
Several of those station closings concerned brusque police motion. Radio Vos said law enforcement officials arrived on the broadcast facility to shut down its transmitters. Ortega’s police additionally forced their means into the Nino Jesus de Praga chapel within the city of Sebaco to confiscate tools from the radio station working from there.
The diocese of Matagalpa said that the parish priest, Rev. Uriel Vellejos, was inside the home the place the radio station operated.
“I am being besieged. The police have broke the chapel’s locks to enter where the equipment is, to take it. The police are attacking the faithful who are inside the school,” Vallejos reported on Facebook.
According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), police fired photographs within the air and deployed tear gasoline to maintain the church congregation from aiding Father Vallejos.
Vallejos said the police lower off energy to the home, injured two of his parishioners, and detained a number of individuals who answered his name for assist.
CNA reported that Telcor claimed the radio stations in Matagalpa lacked the required broadcast licenses as a pretext for silencing them. The diocese responded that the entire needed paperwork was offered to regulators in particular person years in the past by Rev. Alvarez, however Telcor by no means responded to the functions.
Telcor additionally cited imprecise “technical” deficiencies by the Catholic radio stations however refused to specify what they had been.
“We will continue to report and denounce any situation that, like this one, continues to violate the freedom of speech and religion in Nicaragua,” the diocese stated in a press release.
The Nicaraguan Independent Journalists and Communicators affiliation (PCIN) denounced the station closings as a “massacre of freedom of information” and a “brutal strategy of the authorities that seek a national blackout of critical voices.”
“Such a decision, carried out with the police and civilians who operate alongside them, has caused damage to infrastructure, injuries to people in solidarity with the management of the closed media outlet in Sebaco, Matagalpa, and violently detained young people,” the PCIN stated.
The PCIN demanded full restoration of the radio stations, respect for the civil rights of broadcasters, and safety towards “aggressions by the police and Sandinista fanatics.”
Infobae on Wednesday reported rising unhappiness amongst Nicaraguans with the shortage of response from the Vatican and Pope Francis to Ortega’s conflict on Catholic radio. For that matter, they thought the Pope ought to have spoken out towards the Ortega dictatorship way back.
Infobae recalled the Ortega regime going to conflict towards Catholics after protests broke out towards the very suspect election that saved him in energy in November 2021. Ortega and Murillo determined the Catholic Church was aiding a “coup” towards them by giving shelter to protesters. The regime unleashed an escalating wave of violence and vandalism towards church buildings, forcing a number of monks into exile.
“I do not understand how Pope Francis can remain silent in the face of attacks on the most beloved priests of Nicaraguans, how it is possible that he does not see a person of the highest power who, daily, uses the name of God in vain and preaches love while sowing hatred,” Nicaraguan author Gioconda Belli remarked in May.
Other outstanding Nicaraguan Catholic writers had been much less essential of the Pope’s place, arguing that his affect with the Ortega regime was minimal, and he might make the state of affairs for Nicaraguans worse by choosing a public struggle with the paranoid and cruel Communist ruler.
Agustin Antonetti, director of a non-governmental group referred to as Latin America Watch, rejected these excuses on Thursday.
“Pope Francis’ silence on what’s going on in Nicaragua is scandalous. Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship is taking the churches by force, they have shut down all their channels and radios, even one priest is in jail, and the rest are afraid of being kidnapped,” he stated.