The government of Daniel Ortega has frozen the bank accounts of at least three of the nine dioceses of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, according to local ecclesiastical sources denounced this Saturday.
According to these sources, the dioceses with restricted bank accounts are those of Managua, presided over by Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, and those of Matagalpa and Estelí, headed by jailed Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who in February was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for crimes considered “treason against the fatherland”.
For his part, Cardinal Brenes told the portal Public File that he could not confirm the freezing of the bank accounts of the dioceses and that he is currently looking at “how to resolve the situation”.
The president of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, Bishop Carlos Herrera, declared to the platform Dispatch 505 that he received information about the problems with the bank accounts of the dioceses, but that he was not officially notified.
Nicaraguan exile researcher Martha Patricia Molina posted screenshots of unsuccessful attempts to make bank transfers to accounts in the Archdiocese of Managua. “Verify that the account entered is correct and try again”, “Your transfer could not be carried out” and “Invalid account” are, among others, the messages that appear on the screen when trying to make a transfer to the accounts of the Archdiocese of Managua , according to Molina.
So far, neither the government nor private banks have commented on the restriction of these diocesan bank accounts or the arrest of three priests this week. Two days ago, the National Police announced that they were investigating Father Jaime Montesinos for committing acts that violated the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of the nation. The religious is pastor of the John Paul II church in the municipality of Sébaco, in the department of Matagalpa, a diocese presided over by Bishop Álvarez.
silence the church
In the opinion of Nicaraguan opposition leader Félix Maradiaga, “the blocking of the bank accounts of several dioceses of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua is an extreme act of aggression and persecution”.
“It is also an explicit declaration of the dictatorship’s true aspirations: to silence and completely dissolve the voice and even the presence of an institution that, due to its moral weight in Nicaragua, is an obstacle to the Ortega-Murillo plans to consolidate a dynastic dictatorship” , warned Maradiaga in a public statement. “It is time for the international community to enter the phase of total ignorance of the regime,” he added.
Relations between the Ortega government and the Catholic Church are now experiencing moments of great tension, marked by the expulsion and imprisonment of priests, the prohibition of religious activities and the suspension of their diplomatic relations. Pope Francis even classified the Sandinista government as a “gross dictatorship” in an interview with the portal infobae.
Nicaragua has been experiencing a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has worsened after the controversial general elections of November 2021, in which Ortega was re-elected for a fifth term, the fourth consecutive and the second along with his wife Rosario Murillo as deputy. -president, with his main competitors in prison or exile.
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