Nicaragua: Catholics Proceed with Mass Despite Government Ban
On Sat., Catholics in Nicaragua congregated to celebrate a large-scale mass in the nation's capital, Managua, after the government banned a religious procession meant to mark the closing of the national Marian Congress.
- On Sat., Catholics in Nicaragua congregated to celebrate a large-scale mass in the nation's capital, Managua, after the government banned a religious procession meant to mark the closing of the national Marian Congress.
- A heavy police presence oversaw hundreds of believers peacefully making their way to the cathedral Our Lady of Fatima as encouraged by Church leaders.
- On Fri., Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega admin. prohibited the pilgrimage over "internal security" risks. This comes a week after seven Catholic radio stations were taken off air.
- Tensions between the Ortega admin. and the Catholic Church have run high since the Church sought to mediate national protests in 2018, which resulted in around 350 deaths.
- On Sun., priest Óscar Benavidez was reportedly arrested by the National Police in northern Nicaragua after leaving a mass, while two other priests from Matagalpa municipalties were halted from traveling to Matagalpa. Meanwhile, Bishop Rolando José Álvarez has been under siege on accusations of organizing violent groups.
- These developments have garnered the attention of the Holy See, with its permanent observer to the Organization of American States (OAS) expressing on Fri. concerns over the situation and leading 27 OAS states to condemn "the harassment and arbitrary restrictions placed on religious organizations".
Sources: Al Jazeera, Washington Times, Reuters, France24, and Confidencial.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by LA Times. The targeting of religious groups is only a small part of Ortega's dictatorial silencing of political dissidents. Since 2007, a climate has been fostered that has seen authorities grow even more corrupt, democratic protests quashed, and journalists flee the country, even leaving their families behind. No one can talk openly about the government's oppression of civilians under Ortega.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Politico. Western media and governments are quick to criticize developments in Nicaragua, but it shouldn't be forgotten that liberal democracies often ignore their own values when conducting foreign policy. Though US opinion can homogeneously denounce Ortega's regime, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay are more difficult to critique freely. This double standard shouldn't go unchecked.