Ortega regime shuts down another Catholic radio station in Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega | Taiwan Presidential Office (CC BY 2.0)

Less than a week after abducting the bishop of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of Estelí, Rolando Álvarez, the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua has silenced another Catholic radio station.

Radio Stereo Fe of the Diocese of Estelí lamented Aug. 24 on Facebook that “almost 28 years of radio evangelization on FM have ended today.”

“Today we had a visit from the gentlemen of TELCOR (Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office), Managua,” who “handed us the notification informing us that our radio (signal) has to be turned off immediately,” the Catholic radio station announced.

The reason used by the telecommunications regulatory agency of the Ortega dictatorship “is that the radio station is functioning with the license in the name of Father Francisco Valdivia,” a deceased priest, “and that the new director doesn’t have any permission.”

Radio Stereo Fe pointed out that this is an “unjustifiable reason,” since they have had “several directors” after Valdivia without having “any problem” in their 28 years of being on the air.

This new attack against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua takes place just five days after the National Police, in the service of Ortega, abducted Álvarez in the middle of the night from the Matagalpa chancery to subject him to house arrest in Managua, the capital of the country, about three hours away by car.

A group of priests, seminarians, and a layman — who were also inside the chancery with Álvarez since the beginning of August and prevented from leaving by riot police — was also transferred to Managua. They are being held in El Chipote, a prison notorious for torturing opponents of the regime. 

The closure of the radio station took place just one day after the priests of the Diocese of Estelí released a statement calling on the authorities of the dictatorial regime of Ortega to convert, to allow them to work in peace, and to release Álvarez.

Earlier this month, the Ortega dictatorship shut down another five Catholic radio stations. In one of the raids, the police fired shots in the air, forced their way into a church, and threw tear gas canisters.

At last Sunday’s Angelus in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said that he is following “closely with worry and sorrow, the situation created in Nicaragua, and which involves people and institutions.”

“I want to express my conviction and my wish that through an open and sincere dialogue they can find the basis for a respectful and peaceful coexistence,” he added. “Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady Most Pure, that he inspire such concrete will in the hearts of all.”

Radio Stereo Fe in its Aug. 24 Facebook post said that “we condemn the closure of our radio station where many humble people from our communities fed on the Word of God; through the Eucharist, preaching, and much more.”

“In the same way, the ministries of our Assumption parish could communicate their evangelizing and missionary work,” the now-closed station said.

However, Radio Stereo Fe assured that “we will continue to evangelize through our social media, and all the other means that technology offers us. Let us not be discouraged and continue to be united in prayer.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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