The dictatorship seeks to normalize banishment, harassment, espionage, and jail
Ortega has crossed all the red lines, and it’s wouldn’t be strange if he crossed that of assassinating Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, believes former political prisoner Jose Antonio Peraza.
HAVANA TIMES – Arturo McFields, Nicaragua’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States, recently told the online Nicaraguan news site 100% Noticias that the Sandinista dictatorship’s recent expulsion of 12 priests to the Vatican left clear the bogus nature of the trials they’d staged against the religious leaders.
“Banishing those twelve priests to Rome isn’t some gift on the part of the dictatorship – it’s the least they could do. In this way, their maneuvers were left naked before the eyes of public opinion, and they were left demoralized in the eyes of their followers. Where does that leave the trials, the false evidence they staged? Where does that leave their courts, the Public Prosecutor’s Office? They’re left looking like liars. Where does that leave the witnesses who came, weeping, to say that their children were abused by priests?” asked McFields.
The former diplomat said the judicial power was left in a shameful light, “because the trials were bogus, false, motivated by political interests. That’s the hardest part for them – the shame of a deceitful judicial power that has become a legalized hitman, dedicated to hunting people down like minions following orders from the dictator.”
McFields emphasized: “the banishment of people, the practice of sending them out of the country as if they were criminals is becoming a habitual practice. These weren’t foreign priests, but Nicaraguans who were expelled from their own country. Sending them to Rome isn’t an option,” the former diplomat reflected.
He explained that if they were to be freed, the priests should have been liberated within the country. However, “the dictatorship wants to normalize the practice of banishment, jail, harassment, and espionage.”
“All of this leaves us with a few lessons: that the religious persecution is going to continue and is going to be strengthened (..) If true religious freedom existed, the priests would have been liberated here, to continue preaching the Gospel in their own country, based on the freedom of worship established in the Nicaraguan Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” reasoned McFields.
The peace that Rosario Murillo invokes
According to McFields, the regime will now be left in peace, because they won’t have to continue hearing the voice of those twelve religious leaders. But the Church is much larger, the Gospel and the word of God isn’t a person, it’s something much larger. Therefore, their “peace” is deceptive, and even they themselves realize that, he noted.
“The word of God is what is robbing the regime of peace. It’s like salt in a wound for them; it’s like a crucifix for someone dedicated to Satanic activities,” affirmed McFields.
In responding to the question: “Why didn’t the dictatorship want to keep those priests imprisoned any longer?” McFields responded that it was the same thing that happened with the 222 political prisoners [that were released in February and sent to the US.]. “Holding innocent people in prison isn’t a win for anyone. The only benefit is the effect it causes: “If you say anything, I’ll put you in jail.” But that effect is temporary. After keeping a religious figure imprisoned for months, the people then say, “Okay, now you’ve stopped them from talking, so why are you still keeping them locked up, since they’re innocent?”
He added that Ortega’s strategy of instilling fear has worked in the case of some religious figures.
“Because we see that they don’t condemn anything, in the same way we see an Episcopal Council that doesn’t issue any conclusive pronouncements. They closed their television channels, they closed their radio stations, they prohibit religious processions and we don’t see a vigorous Church that will proclaim: ‘This is wrong!’ Instead, they opt for self-censorship,” he asserted.
Could Ortega order the death of Monsignor Alvarez?
Jose Antonio Peraza, one of the regime’s released and banished political prisoners, believes that Daniel Ortega must have reached simple and basic agreement with the Vatican in Rome.
“The Church has taken a very cautious position that some don’t like, but that I understand. Because it would have been very difficult to reach an agreement to free those 12 priests if the Cardinal had been vocalizing against the regime,” he affirmed.
Peraza added: “I imagine that such prudent behavior – evidently fearful and desirous of the survival of the Church’s pastoral labors – that the Cardinal and nearly the entire Episcopal Conference have adopted, was in obedience to that necessity of reaching an agreement. Possibly part of that agreement will be a certain behavior on the part of the Church in the coming months.”
Peraza believes that part of the agreement may have been that the regime ordered the priests not to get involved in politics.
When asked if he believed that there’s a plan to kill Monsignor Alvarez, Peraza responded that the possibility couldn’t be discounted.
“Considering everything that Ortega has done in recent years, anything can happen,” he warned.
“Who would have imagined that they would imprison the candidates, that they would kill young people with snipers in the protests, that 10% of the population would emigrate, that they would cancel all political parties? In other words, Ortega has crossed all the red lines. But if they cross the one of assassinating Bishop Alvarez, I think it would be very complex because Nicaragua remains a very religious society.”