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Tuesday 21 May |
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Jesuits denounce Ortega’s closure of the Central American University

Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa Abascal of Venezuela

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Daniel Esparza - published on 08/21/23

The Sandinista regime announced that the university’s assets had been confiscated by Nicaraguan authorities, on grounds of being a “center of terrorism.”

President Daniel Ortega’s steady silencing of dissenting voices in Nicaragua has targeted the Catholic Church systematically for at least five years now.

Among his most scandalous dictates:

– the explicit prohibition of traditional public processions of the Way of the Cross in all parishes in the country during Holy Week,
the sudden and forceful expulsion of a Panamanian Claretian missionary friar and of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s nuns)
the expropriation of a Trappist monastery,
and the imprisonment of Bishop Rolando Álvarez.

Now, Ortega’s government decided to shut down the Central American University – a Jesuit, private university founded in 1960.  

The university was a hub for demonstrations against President Daniel Ortega’s controversial reform of the national social security system in 2018. Last August 16, the regime announced that the university’s assets had been confiscated by Nicaraguan authorities, on grounds of being a “center of terrorism.”

The note published by Vatican News explains that the university “slammed the accusation as totally ‘unfounded’ and called the seizure a blow to academia in Nicaragua.”

The Superior General of the Jesuits, Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, joined the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus in condemning, in the strongest terms, the closure of the university.

The measure is the latest in a series of repressive actions by Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista regime against the Catholic Church, because of its stance during the 2018 protests.

Nicaragua’s persecution

The 16th edition of Religious Freedom in the World, a biannual report that Aid to the Church in Need has been publishing since 1999, this year for the first time has used the color red – indicating persecution – on a map of the Americas, singling out Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, for mistreatment of the Catholic Church there. 

In the last five years alone, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has gone through more than 190 attacks and desecrations, including a fire in the Managua Cathedral, the exile and stripping of the citizenship of more than 222 former political prisoners (priests, bishops, and seminarians included).

NicaraguaPersecution of Christians
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