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Nicaraguan bishop: Ortega government persecuting the Church

Catholic World News - October 22, 2013

A Nicaraguan bishop has told the Fides news agency that the government of Daniel Ortega has undertaken a “devious persecution” of the Church.

Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. Ortega won the presidential elections of 2006 and 2011.

Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara, a Salesian who has led the Diocese of Esteli since 1990, said that phone conversations are being monitored and that “one cannot talk openly and honestly without being subject to persecution by the authorities.”

The prelate, who also serves as president of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights, also noted attacks on the Church in the state-run media.

“They want to discredit us because they cannot silence the cry of a people; it is a growing discontent,” he said. “Somehow you have to look for scapegoats to falsely accuse those who truly are the voice of the voiceless.”

“As pastors we cannot see people being killed without doing anything,” he continued. “One cannot be treated like this simply because the population does not agree with the government.”

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