Nicaragua: Communist Dictator Ortega Declares War on ‘Terrorist’ Vatican

Ismael Francisco, File/AP

Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega continued his regime’s ongoing attacks against the Catholic Church on Wednesday by accusing the Catholic clergy and the Vatican of being a “perfect dictatorship.”

During a mandatory radio and television broadcast, the Nicaraguan dictator — who has clung to power through sham elections — lashed out against the Catholic Church, deeming it undemocratic and a dictatorship.

Ortega also accused the Church of having “used its bishops in Nicaragua to stage a coup” against the Sandinista regime — referencing the support and mediation role given by the Church to the April 2018 protests in which thousands of Nicaraguans flocked to the streets calling for freedom and the end of communism. Ortega branded Church leaders “terrorists.”

“A coup d’état, an institution like the Catholic Church, using its bishops here in Nicaragua to carry out a coup d’état. Since when are priests ready to stage a coup? And since when do they have the authority to speak of democracy?” Ortega said. “Who elects the priests, the bishops, the pope, the cardinals? How many votes? Who gives them to them?”

According to the socialist dictator, the Catholic Church does not have the authority to speak about democracy because bishops are not directly chosen by the people.

“I would say to His Holiness, the Pope, with all due respect, to the authorities of the Catholic Church, I am a Catholic, that as a Catholic I do not feel represented by everything we know about that terrible story, but also by the fact that we hear it talk about democracy, and they don’t practice democracy,” he alleged.

The dictator continued his accusations by claiming — without providing evidence — that the Catholic Church covered up “a gang of assassins” that, according to him, tried to assassinate him and overthrow the Sandinista regime during the 2018 protests. 

“Some priests, some bishops, called people to put lead [bullets] into me, that they hoped to kill me,” Ortega said. He did not offer any evidence for his allegations.

The relationship between the Sandinista regime and the Church has always been strained in the four decades of communist rule in the Central American nation, with notable incidents that range from Sandinistas interrupting Pope John Paul II’s homily during his official visit to Nicaragua in 1983 to the regime’s kidnapping of a bishop in 1986.

Despite Ortega declaring himself a Catholic, the socialist dictator has spearheaded a fierce campaign against the Catholic faith in Nicaragua since the events of 2018, with the actions of his regime against the Church having dramatically increased throughout the entirety of 2022.

In 2022 alone, the Ortega regime has banished the papal nuncio; accused Bishop of Matagalpa Rolando Álvarez of having committed “sins against spirituality,” arresting him alongside other members of the Catholic Church; expelled nuns; ordered the systematic and massive closure of Catholic media throughout the nation; and banned traditional Catholic processions in the country, including the processions of Saint Michael and Saint Jerome, which would have taken place on Thursday and Friday respectively.

A man watches the Mass of Monsignor Rolando Alvarez via Facebook in Managua, on August 11, 2022. Alvarez, a Catholic bishop detained in his residence by authorities over his criticism of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, assured supporters on Thursday that he is well and safe. Alongside several priests and lay people, has been holed up at home in Managua for a week after riot police prevented him from leaving to say Mass. He and the Catholic Church have been accused of inciting violence to destabilize the country. (OSWALDO RIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Santa Lucia-Boaco parish announced through its Facebook account that the Ortega regime had banned Nicaraguan priest Guillermo Blandón from returning to his country. 

“Through this means, the Santa Lucía-Boaco Parish communicates to its parishioners that the Government of Nicaragua denied re-entry into their country to our parish priest, Father Guillermo Blandon,” the statement read in part. “We ask for your prayers so that God protects our bishops, priests and the Church. … Thank you very much for your prayers. God bless you.”

The Ortega regime has not explained why it has denied re-entry to the priest. Silvio José Báez, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, stated on his Twitter account that Father Blandón was traveling back to Nicaragua from Israel. While in transit in Miami, the priest was informed that he could not return to his country. Bishop Báez himself has spent 41 months out of Nicaragua as per orders from Pope Francis for security reasons.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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