HAVANA TIMES – Here is the letter published today from Nicaraguan sports hero Dennis Martinez to Bishop Rolando Alvarez, currently under house arrest with other priests in Matagalpa.
Dear Monsignor Rolando Alvarez,
I admit that I cried when I decided to write you this letter. My tears came from watching powerlessly how the government agencies were being used to repress the Catholic faithful in their desire to gather.
I cried with frustration that the circles of power were executing this threat against you: preventing you from leaving your house. I cried about my inability to do anything to help you from far away. But I also cried with pride, because in the middle of the tempest swirling around you, you knelt down only before God.
I cried in admiration for your bravery, from seeing a living example of the courage of a leader that doesn’t hide from turbulent times. Amid the hurricane of terrible things the country is living through, speaking the truth is a “sin”, and you’re not afraid of biting the apple. As Pope Francisco said in his 2015 speech in Bolivia: “Behind so much pain and destruction, we catch the scent of (…) the devil’s dung.”
The Police are accusing you of organizing violent groups and inciting people to carry out acts of hate; they say you’re a provocateur of unease and disorder, in addition to disturbing the peace. Yes, you are guilty of organizing groups – to study God and the Virgin. You organize events for the youth and call on the multitudes to respond to hate with love.
I’d also say that you’re guilty of making the devil feel uneasy, because like a good Christian, you pull people towards God, direct them along the good path, and leave the enemy without disciples. In addition, I’d change the word “disturber of the peace” to “seeker of the peace”, which is the great treasure that has been lost in Nicaragua in the last few years.
Every day, I and my wife Luz Marina pray for you and for Nicaragua. We’re grateful, because you preach by example; we learn from you at every moment, like when you went out [of the Curia] with determination and approached those who were blocking your path, calling them brothers and sisters, and asking them for an embrace. You reflected the importance of not seeing party or color, but only seeing a neighbor, a person like yourself, and praying for them. You blessed all of them, even though they were causing harm. It’s one thing to say it and another to spread it in the streets. We Catholics see how you model wholeness of spirit.
Dear Monsignor, I take my leave with my eyes still red, because Nicaragua has become a land hostile to truth. But I also understand and believe that God isn’t mistaken in his plans when he sends his best soldiers into one of his many battles in the great war between good and evil. They may surround you with police and prevent you from leaving, but your voice transcends borders.
With an embrace from your friend,