HAVANA TIMES – The Catholic Church’s Peace and Justice Committee in Managua came out on Tuesday denouncing the Ortega government’s jailing of opposition leaders as well as the lack of conditions for truly democratic elections in the country.
The committee also denounces the threats, offenses, and harassment of which the Catholic Church and its pastors are victims.
“The political events that have taken place in the country in recent months have generated among the population feelings of frustration, impotence and pain. The election year has seen the incarceration of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as political leaders and activists and journalists. Additionally, there have been threats to our Catholic Church, offenses to its priests and bishops, limitations on the residency visas of foreign priests, harassment of lay parishioners and other illegal and intimidating actions,” it indicates in the message.
The statement emphasizes that with these incarcerations, the population is prevented from expressing its sympathy for a certain candidate in the November 7 elections.
“The Nicaraguan people, who have the right to choose from different political options, are thus prevented from expressing their preference by voting in the November elections to elect the highest authorities in the country, because opposition candidates have been forcibly excluded from the race by depriving them of their freedom and taking away their rights as citizens. The electoral process that should be a civic celebration is lived with fear and uncertainty because there are no conditions for a democratic vote,” said the Peace and Justice Committee.
The Catholic Church also says it feels hurt by the “new wave of Nicaraguan migration, mostly young people, who are forced to leave due to insecurity, unemployment” and “uncertainty about the future of the country, among other reasons.”
Only between June and July 2021, a total of 10,077 Nicaraguans requested refuge from Costa Rican Immigration authorities, according to official data.
Since the beginning of the socio-political crisis in April 2018, some 100,000 Nicaraguans had already left the country, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).