Caritas International: “The Harassment of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua is Unacceptable”

The San Miguel Church in Masaya continues surrounded by a police blockade. Photo: Carlos Herrera / Confidencial

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Caritas International, which calls itself the “helping hand of the Church”, has sent a letter to Daniel Ortega asking for an end to the persecution and the harassment directed against the Catholic Church.

OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA

San Jose, November 18, 2019

His excellency, Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the Republic of Nicaragua

Dear Mr. President,

Please receive cordial greetings from the Caritas International network in the Central American and Mexican zone, within the region of Latin America and the Caribbean

Caritas International is a world confederation of Catholic organizations oriented towards humanitarian service and the promotion of integral human development.  For over half a century, it has developed a labor of solidarity with the peoples of our region in Mexico and Central America, including your lovely country of Nicaragua, with humanitarian aid work directed towards the people most affected by poverty and by the emergencies that follow extreme natural events, as well as very important tasks in response to the challenges of food security and the promotion of social and productive projects to benefit poor families in the communities.

Although Caritas is a network of Catholic organizations, it’s not moved by an urge to proselytize, nor does it discriminate on religious, political or any other grounds against those people destined to benefit from our actions of solidarity. In this sense, we subscribe to the Code of Ethics of the International Red Cross and other great world humanitarian organizations.

Mothers on a hunger strike gather at windows of the San Miguel Archangel Church in Masaya. Photo: Carlos Herrera

From the Caritas vocation and mission, rooted in the defense and promotion of human rights, we find the events involving persecution, harassment and restrictions of freedom of the Nicaraguan Catholic Church not only painful, but unacceptable.

The situation that the parish priest and presbyter Edwin Roman, and some of the faithful from the San Miguel Arcangel parish in Masaya, are living through concerns us greatly. The situation has included depriving him of his right to freely celebrate his religious services and to receive electricity and water service in equal conditions with the rest of the citizens, as well as depriving access to those who wish to supply them with water, food and medicines which are absolutely indispensable for their survival.  These repressive measures have no foundation in the order of law, so that they are clear violations of the human rights guaranteed by the constitutional regime of our sister republic of Nicaragua.

For this reason, Mr. President, we request that Nicaraguan citizens, Catholics in general, and in particular those of the San Miguel parish in Masaya be guaranteed the legal security accorded them in Article 27 of Nicaragua’s political constitution: “All people are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection. There will be no discrimination for reasons of birth, nationality, political creed, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, origin, economic position or social condition.”

In the same way, we demand that the right of these people as established in Article 29 of the same Political Constitution be guaranteed: “Every person has a right to freedom of conscience, of thought and to profess or not a religion. No one should be the object of coercive measure that minimize these rights, nor be forced to declare their creed, ideology or beliefs.”

We trust, Mr. President, that in virtue of your authority as President of the Republic, Head of State and Head of Government, that you will have the law prevail, and assure that the aforementioned human rights violations immediately cease and that the parish priest of the San Miguel Church and the other faithful fully enjoy their right to food, water, health, movement and freedom of religion.

In the same way, we ask that their physical integrity be guaranteed, with an eye to possible aggression on the part of government agents, as well as from citizens who, acting outside the framework of the law, try to harm them in any way, as occurred today with the physical and emotional mistreatment that religious leader Rodolfo Lopez and a nun were victims of in the Managua Cathedral at the hands of a mob, and as has occurred in other Catholic churches, in events very well known to the Government of the Nicaraguan Republic and to the international community, and which we also condemn.

In the name of Caritas in the area of Central America and Mexico, and of the Latin American and Caribbean region, we manifest our highest consideration and respect.

Pbro. Edwin Aguiluz Milla, Caritas Coordinator for the zone of Central America and Mexico (CAMEX)

Father Francisco Hernandez Rojas, Regional Coordinator for the Secretariat of Caritas in Latin America and the Caribbean.



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