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Nicaraguan bishops denounce Ortega regime’s proposal to change constitution

Catholic World News - November 25, 2013

The bishops of Nicaragua have denounced a plan by the nation’s ruling party to amend the constitution to allow presidents to serve an indefinite number of terms.

President Daniel 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; a bishop recently said his government has undertaken a “devious persecution” of the Church.

The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua said in a November 22 statement that “we do not consider it appropriate to propose amendments to our Constitution,” at a time of “non-existent separation of powers” and “continuous … electoral irregularities and violations of the Constitution.”

“The current proposals are aimed at encouraging the establishment and the continuation of an absolute long-term power exercised by a person or by a party, in a dynastic manner or through political and economic oligarchy,” the bishops added.

Quoting Blessed John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus, the bishops said that “as history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”

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