Pope Francis’ statements about the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, which he described as a “Hitlerian dictatorship” and “rude”, have shown that the relationship between the Vatican and the State of Nicaragua is at a point of no return. This Sunday the Sandinista government has disseminated through its official media a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that the Vatican and Managua “have considered suspending diplomatic relations.” The note came to light shortly after the Nicaraguan newspaper Confidencial, whose newsroom has been confiscated, reported that the Sandinista government decided to break diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The cited sources, close to the Vatican, indicate that “the representative of the Sandinista government to the Holy See ‘verbally’ communicated the break in relations at the Vatican Secretariat of State in Rome, alluding to the statements of the Holy Father, in which for the first time he referred forcefully to the regime’s attacks against the Catholic Church”. This rupture, as confirmed by Vatican sources to Reuters, also means the closure of the respective embassies.
Before this break was known, a source close to the Catholic Church assured EL PAÍS that diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Managua were in “a freeze” in a context of religious persecution and the sentence of 26 years in prison for Álvarez. According to this source, this distance from the Holy See not only deepens the international isolation of the presidential couple, but is also a reaction to the “insurmountable wall of evil, lies and cynicism” with which the Vatican has encountered when trying to dialogue. with the Sandinista government, especially for the arrest and conviction of Bishop Rolando Álvarez. The Pope had referred to the prelate, who a month ago refused to be exiled to the United States and is currently in jail. “There we have a bishop in prison, a very serious man, very capable. He wanted to give his testimony and did not accept exile, ”said Francisco.
“I do not lose hope that after a certain time Vatican diplomacy can make another attempt at rapprochement. I don’t think they will leave Monsignor Álvarez abandoned. At the moment it is a good blow to the dictatorship that sometimes cynically salutes the Pope”, said this source. “I think that the Vatican, trying to dialogue with the dictatorship, has come up against an insurmountable wall of evil, lies and cynicism,” she insisted.
Francisco’s statements to Infobae on the morning of March 10 surprised various sectors of the Nicaraguan population —especially the opposition and civil society— who demanded greater forcefulness from the Vatican in the face of the repression exercised by Ortega and Murillo. The demands increased when the Sandinista couple increased their attacks on the Church. The regime recently put a gag on the Via Crucis processions on public roads and the harassment in parishes has not stopped, which has led to the exile of dozens of religious.
“With great respect, I have no choice but to think about an imbalance in the person who leads (the Government of Nicaragua). There we have a bishop in prison, a very serious man, very capable. He wanted to give his testimony and did not accept exile. It is something that is outside of what we are experiencing, it is as if it were bringing the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitlerite dictatorship of 1935, bringing the same here… They are a type of rude dictatorships”, said the Pope.
Some unpublished statements
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Using unusual language for Vatican diplomacy, which is usually cautious in order to remain as mediators of international conflicts, the statements by Francis, who celebrates ten years of papacy this Monday, suggest that the approaches attempted by the Vatican to mediate by Bishop Álvarez ran aground and fed up the Supreme Pontiff.
“We have not heard such a strong and emphatic statement in comparisons of authoritarian regimes of the past. This is fundamental, because it not only shows us once again the commitment of the Holy See to counteract the advance of the dictatorship, but also because it allows us to place Nicaragua on the map of historically disastrous dictatorships,” says Pedro Fonseca, an expert in international relations. .
Fonseca analyzed that the Vatican’s attempts at dialogue did not prosper and that for this reason Pope Francis has decided to pronounce on the case of Nicaragua. “With this, the Pope verifies that, if this channel of communication has existed, up to now it has not borne fruit,” he reiterated.
In less than a month, various voices of international relevance have compared the repressive actions of the Ortega and Murillo regime with others committed by authoritarian regimes. One of them has been Jan-Michael Simon, president of the Group of Experts on Human Rights on Nicaragua (Ghren, for its acronym in English), who indicated that the “armaments of the justice system against Nicaragua’s political opponents is exactly what What did the Nazi regime do?
“It seems to me that the Pope shows a great capacity to rectify. For quite some time he showed patience and even condescension with Ortega, and insisted on the need for dialogue. By describing Ortega as unbalanced and Hitlerian, it is evident that Francisco now has an accurate portrait of Ortega and his dictatorship,” said former opposition deputy Enrique Sáenz, who on February 15 was stripped of his nationality by the regime.
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