Matagalpa, Nicaragua Bishop Rolando Alvarez Saved from Possible Ambush
He denounces the presence of “heavily armed” people in Terrabona
By Lester Arcia (El Nuevo Diario)
HAVANA TIMES – On Thursday July 18, Monsignor Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, thanked the parishioners of the community of La Joya, in the municipality of Terrabona, for looking after him in the midst of the presence of “heavily armed” people who situated themselves along the road when he was leaving the community, the previous day in the late afternoon.
The bishop says he was ending his pastoral visit at that time and the parishioners warned him that there were armed people at the entrance of the community.
Alvarez told reporters from Matagalpa that when he was preparing to leave the community, some peasants came to tell him there was a group of armed people hiding on both sides of the road to Terrabona.
“I was ready to go ahead however, faced with the peasants’ insistence to accompany me because they saw danger, an imminent risk, I let them do that. The entire community came, practically escorting and guarding me and the work team”, said Alvarez.
The bishop said his parishioners accompanied him to the entrance of the community and protected him in the presence of the armed people who were dressed in “military camouflage”.
He said the inhabitants of the area, who are part of the church, surprised him with their courage “they are not afraid, I was amazed with the people who exposed their lives faced with such a large group of armed people. I was surprised by so many armed people with so much weaponry, in military camouflage”, expressed the bishop in his statement to reporters.
The bishop said this group of people on the outskirts of the community had “heavy weaponry, AK 47s and were armed to the teeth with ammunitions.”
Alvarez said that when the peasants approached the place, the armed people fled to the nearby hills.
“Faced with the courage of the peasants who confronted them with their own humanity and with clean hands, (they) quickly moved away, fleeing from the peasants and began to climb the small hills that surround the community of La Joya,” detailed the bishop.
Monsignor said he was astonished with the amount of armed people; however, he didn’t give an approximate number. He also claimed that the people in this group didn’t have their faces covered.
Álvarez said the happening he’s describing is documented in videos and that soon they will be posted on the social networks of the Diocese of Matagalpa.
The bishop clearly stated that at no time did these armed people intercept or offend him.
He said that his parishioners were alarmed because they had never noticed the presence of groups in military uniforms “with heavy arms and ammunition covering their whole body”
He also explained that the people were alarmed because the armed men were hiding.
[On numerous occasions Alvarez has been threatened both publicly and anonymously for being what President Ortega calls “coup mongers”. The Churches retreat on the outskirts of the city was ransacked by Ortega supporters and the grounds of the Cathedral in the city of Matagalpa have been frequently violated by pro-government fanatics.]
“This is serious; I don’t know if those who did this are aware of the scandalous gravity, not because of me, but because the people from the community were very upset and they faced them, it’s very disturbing,” said the bishop.
Alvarez said he feels no fear after what happened yesterday because he moves around his diocese “with the freedom that has been given to him as a son of God.”
Monsignor asked the members of those armed groups to think hard about their actions because they can get out of control.
“We can’t be underestimating the people, the people there demonstrated what we see in many occasions, civility. Don’t play with the people’s dignity and faith, for the love of God,” said the indignant bishop.
The priest suggested to the authorities, especially the Nicaraguan Army, to carry out a military audit in the zone.