Security & Strategic Review - November 2022

NICARAGUA: Targeting the Catholic Church

As the government led by President Daniel Ortega continues its crackdown on dissent and civil society, the Catholic Church has become one of the sectors most targeted. A report released on 5 October by local human rights organisation Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca Más (CDHNN+) said “violence and brutal persecution of the State against the Catholic Church”, an increasingly vocal critic of the Ortega government since it began its wave of repression against opponents following the April 2018 unrest, has forced at least 55 priests into exile. In August Bishop Rolando Álvarez, an outspoken Ortega critic, was arrested which prompted a response from Pope Francis. Alvarez’s arrest follows that of other priests, the recent closure of radio stations linked to the Catholic Church, the expulsion of a group of nuns, and a recent ban on a Catholic procession and pilgrimage in the capital, Managua, among other things.

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