Health of Mothers under Police Siege Deteriorates in a Masaya, Nicaragua Church

The police have cordoned off a 300-meter perimeter around the Catholic Church. Photo: Carlos Herrera

Those trapped inside request medicine, water and oral rehydration fluids. The police respond by widening the barrier they’ve created around the temple. Sixteen citizens are being held in jail for trying to bring them water.

By Ivette Munguia (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – A group of citizens trapped within the San Miguel Archangel Church in Masaya, Nicaragua, currently find themselves dehydrated and with no food. Father Edwin Roman, who suffers from diabetes, has been suffering from fierce headaches due to the lack of food and insulin he needs to control his blood sugar levels.

The Ortega regime’s police have maintained a siege of the church for three straight days, with a police cordon that has closed off a perimeter of 300 meters around the Catholic church.  Electricity and running water were cut off, by government order.  Within the church, the priest is accompanying ten mothers of political prisoners and one female protestor who are on a hunger strike. They’re also accompanied by two released political prisoners, a human rights advocate and one employee of the church.

“I’m a diabetic, and I woke up this morning with a bad headache. I feel dehydrated, because for three days I haven’t eaten as usual,” explained the religious leader in an audio message that he managed to get out on Saturday morning, November 16. Roman added that the mothers who remain on a hunger strike are very weak.

Father Edwin Romero, encircled by the regime’s police in the San Miguel Archangel Church. Courtesy photo

Similarly, Yonarqui Martinez, lawyer for the political prisoners, who is also trapped in the church, stated that those being detained there are “relatively stable”. She urged the population to get them oral rehydration solutions, insulin, water and something to eat. “We’re still without water, without electricity and the police officers are at all the church doors to keep any of us from leaving,” she emphasized.

Hours previous, Diana Lacayo, one of the mothers on the hunger strike, suffered an asthma attack, but was stabilized by other people in the church.

Food has run out

Martinez explained that five of the people there are not on a hunger strike, had consumed the few food items that the priest had in his refrigerator. They’re currently dehydrated and hungry. The electricity hasn’t been reestablished, so that “we no longer have cell phones on,” she stated. At the same time she requested sanitary supplies for the women in the parish.

On Friday night, water and electricity to the area around the church were reestablished, but the temple itself remains cut off, while riot squads maintain the police encirclement.

The first day and a half of the hunger strike was tense for the women and those who accompany them, they confirmed, due to the police harassment. On the first night, the police continuously banged on the doors of the church so that they couldn’t rest, and threatened to enter and arrest them, they informed via voice messages from their cellphones while they still had a charge.

The regime’s police have mounted a cordon around the church, closing off a 300-meter perimeter all around it. Photo: Carlos Herrera

The lawyer explained that Father Roman is the only person that has succeeded in communicating with the Managua Archdiocese, which is trying to negotiate at the highest levels, so that the Police will let their hostages leave.

Solid in their Faith

One of the few people who has managed to approach the San Miguel Church is Father Jose Antonio Espinoza from the San Jeronimo Parrish in Masaya.  Father Espinoza arrived on Friday morning to leave the insulin injection that Father Roman must take every day. Nonetheless, when he attempted to return with other religious figures to leave water and food in the church, the Police officials wouldn’t allow them to come near.

On Friday morning, Father Roman “was well, with a solid faith. He has many years of service to his people, to his congregation and he always supports them,” declared the San Jeronimo priest, who emphasized that he would continue trying to bring water and food to those who were trapped in the temple because “that’s the mission of the Church.”

A number of riot squad members form a barricade in front to the San Miguel Archangel Church in Masaya, Nicaragua.  Photo: Carlos Herrera.

Paulo Abrao, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, criticized the fact that the women who are locked in the temple “are being threatened by the police who tell them that they’re going to take them out of the church by force. Once again, Nicaragua isn’t respecting the right to peaceful protest,” he wrote on his Twitter feed.

Sixteen arrested with no information on them

The National Blue and White Unity movement indicated that 16 people arrested while trying to take supplies to those who remain trapped in the San Miguel temple remain incommunicado. They are being held in the infamous El Chipote interrogation jail. They could possibly face fabricated charges.   

Tamara Zamora, mother of student leader Amaya Coppens, who is among those arrested, specified that at the moment she was bringing food to her daughter at the jail, the Police officials told her that there was a total of 16 arrested. However, they couldn’t explain the reasons for their arrest.

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