Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez of Managua, Nicaragua is warning that the country could be on the road to an “open or veiled form of totalitarianism” in the wake of President Daniel Ortega’s decision to run for another term.
The Sandinista Party announced on Feb. 26 that Ortega would run for re-election, even though article 147 of the Nicaraguan Constitution does not allow a president to run for immediate re-election or to serve for more than two terms.
The following day, Bishop Baez remarked that the country could be on the way to an “open or veiled form of totalitarianism.” He added that he was not expressing a personal opinion, but rather that of Nicaragua's bishops.
Last year the bishops noted that power should not be concentrated “in the hands of a few.”
“We are watching as the law is being used by one group to impose its whims, we are watching the rule of law be torn to shreds, we are watching Nicaragua be used as if it were a company at the service of one group, one family, of the few,” Bishop Baez said.
The bishops are not acting in opposition to the government, he continued. Rather, they are providing guidance based on “the truth and justice that come from the Gospel” as well as “the wisdom of the Church in her social doctrine.” This wisdom helps politicians see past the dark clouds of sin and personal ambition, he added.
Politics in Nicaragua needs to be cleaned up, the bishop said, because “there is a lack of ethical and moral values.” Political problems have sidelined important issues such as unemployment, poverty, heath care and education, he said. “These must be the fundamental concern of politicians.”
Ortega was president previously from 1985-1990. He was re-elected in 2006.