Nicaraguan Priest Describes Punishment for Not Supporting Ortega

Father Edwin Roman: “If I were a priest close to the dictatorship, I would have my parish church well-lit, but I would have sold my conscience”

Por Cinthya Torrez Garcia (La Prensa)

That is how priest Edwin Roman celebrated Christmas Eve mass, in the San Miguel Archangel church, in Masaya, which has been in darkness for more than two months. Photo: C. Torrez / La Prensa

 

HAVANA TIMES – In darkness. That is how the San Miguel Archangel Church remains in Masaya, during the past two months and 10 days, as a revenge for the start of a hunger strike by relatives of political prisoners who demanded their freedom in this Catholic temple. The energy company cut off the service without any compelling reason on November 14, 2019.

It is an order from above, is all the priest Edwin Roman knows. He has given up demanding that they reconnect the electric power to the temple. An act that cannot be understood as something other than an injustice because the receipts for the service have been paid on time, the priest said.

“I cannot go begging. In fact it is their duty and a right of citizens that they reconnect the electricity because I was up-to-date all year,” Roman said, who along with 14 other people was inside the church for nine days, under siege by police and paramilitary, isolated from outside contact.

Although the lack of electricity has not prevented the celebration of the Eucharist, at night the atmosphere is lifeless. Before, the parishioners who belonged to Catholic groups met to plan assemblies and for their parish tasks, but that has been affected.

“Those activities by night are suspended due to religious persecution, because there is no other word to explain it,” said Roman. The priest has been one of the most critical against the regime of Daniel Ortega, which has maintained a constant siege against the church, which still remains.

Roman explained that if he were a supporter of the government, besides lighting up the parish he would surely have other benefits, but that idea does not tempt him for a second. “I am not going to sell-out or sell my parish (…) nor will I stop being on the side of the people of Nicaragua,” he assured by phone.

“If I were a priest close to the dictatorship, I would keep the church super lit up and would have sold my conscience,” he adds. 

San Miguel Church’s altar boys change in darkness. That is how they prepare for homilies. The church remains in darkness. File photo: La Prensa

On December 24, Roman celebrated Christmas Eve mass lit by hundreds of candles, and a portable lamp. The photos of the mass caused outrage among citizens, and through social networks they proposed to collect money to buy solar panels.

The priest thanked the gesture and said that he would respond after consulting with the parish team. However, Roman explained that it would be a big investment, and that taking into account the repressive behavior of the dictator it is likely that they would not allow the panels to be installed.

“Knowing that this dictatorship can put many obstacles for (the panels) not to be installed, even, to retain them…”, he does not want to risk the money of so many people who want to contribute, but he did appreciate their good will.

Optimism about unity

Priest Roman continues to be optimistic regarding a unified block being achieved to confront the Ortega dictatorship. He assures that egotism, arrogance and pride should be set aside, because when we talk about Nicaragua, we do not only refer to the current context, but also to the country that will be inherited to our children and grandchildren. “We have to cut that link or chain that we have been dragging of prescribing always the same thing,” he expressed.

Roman explained that it is necessary that all people agree, and not only focused on the lead actors, but also as Nicaraguans, to support each other, “not throw garbage” on people because no one is perfect but God.

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