On May 20, TELCOR eliminated the television channel of the Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference from its programming.
In addition, Álvarez and Father Harvy Padilla, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Masaya, have been followed and harassed by the government’s police.
Álvarez, who is in charge of communications for the bishops’ conference and the Catholic Channel, said that what the government wants “is a mute Church that doesn’t announce the hope of the people” and doesn’t denounce “personal sin and structures of injustice.”
On July 6, the Ortega regime expelled 18 Missionaries of Charity from the country on the grounds the sisters had failed to comply with various government regulations for nonprofit organizations.
There have been tensions in recent years between some Catholics and supporters of Ortega, who previously led the country for over a decade after the Sandinistas’ 1979 ouster of the Somoza dictatorship. Ortega has again been president of Nicaragua since 2007 and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.
Ortega’s government has accused many bishops and priests of siding with his opposition.
A crisis began in April 2018 after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces.
Security forces have killed at least 320 protesters, with hundreds more arrested.
Since the protests began, there has been a series of attacks against clergy, churches, and church facilities targeted by pro-government bands.
The apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua was expelled in March.
(Story continues below)
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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.