Nicaraguan bishops express concern for thousands who are leaving the country

Nicaragua Map of Nicaragua. | Shutterstock

The Nicaraguan Bishops’ Conference (CEN) expressed its concern for the thousands of people who are migrating because of the crisis in the country and said that “it’s a reflection of a human drama that challenges us.”

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) indicated that “the political instability that has prevailed in Nicaragua since April 2018 has forced around 200,000 people to flee persecution and human rights violations.”

“Most of these people (150,000) have gone to Costa Rica, a neighboring country. The number of Nicaraguans who have requested protection in Costa Rica since 2018 exceeds the number of people who fled the Central American civil wars in the 1980s,” the U.N. agency said on its website.

In its Advent message issued Nov. 16, the conference said that the joy that the time of preparation for Christmas brings doesn’t prevent the bishops from “acknowledging the concerns we have about the social, political, and economic events of our homeland.”

“Especially, among others, the migratory crisis, which is a reflection of a human drama that challenges us,” the bishops said.

The prelates assured that “even in the midst of uncertainty and suffering, the kingdom of God is present in our history and multiple signs of a new world are manifested among us.”

They pointed out that in Nicaragua “we must all journey together; no one should be left behind.”

“We must all have the possibility of developing ourselves and making Nicaragua a country of brothers. Let us always seek to do good, so that we speak more and more as brothers and set aside individualism,” they added.

The bishops therefore encouraged the population to participate in the search for personal conversion. In the case of Catholics, “as a Church to be up to the mission that the Lord has entrusted to us.”

The migratory situation of Nicaraguans is worsening with the recent announcement by the president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, who said that he will take measures to stop the arrival of more people from that country.

The president said that these people enter claiming to be “political refugees” when in reality they are “economic refugees” fleeing the crisis in the neighboring country, led by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega.

Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina revealed in a new report that in recent years the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has suffered almost 400 attacks.

“Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?” is a 228-page report recording a total of 396 attacks against Catholics.

The document presents the hostilities suffered by the Church in Nicaragua under the dictatorship of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, from 2018 through 2022.

It also shows a detailed record of the desecrations, sacrileges, attacks, robberies, threats, hate speech, and priests in exile, “the result of government persecution.”

The Spanish-language report can be downloaded here.

In a 106-page first edition of the report issued in May, Molina had recorded 190 such incidents.

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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.

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