Nicaragua dictatorship announces ‘voluntary dissolution’ of university forming seminarians

Immaculate Conception University Nicaragua Universidad Católica Inmaculada Concepción of the Archdiocese of Managua (UCICAM). | Credit: UCICAM official website

The Nicaraguan Ministry of the Interior (Migob) announced in official media the “voluntary dissolution” of the Immaculate Conception Catholic University of the Archdiocese of Managua (UCICAM), which functioned as a formation center for seminarians from the Nicaraguan capital.

According to ministerial agreement 77-2023-OSFL, published May 18 in La Gaceta, the regime’s official newspaper, the minister of the interior, María Amelia Coronel Kinloch, approved “by voluntary dissolution agreed by its members … the cancellation of legal personality” of the UCICAM.

The dictatorship pointed out that the university, registered in the public records since July 2012, had allegedly been in “noncompliance with its obligations since 2015, since they did not report their financial statements and board of directors.”

However, the local investigative newspaper Confidencial noted that representatives of several national institutions that were dissolved have charged that Migob prevented them from complying with the filing of the required documents.

In the first quarter of 2023, some 30 nonprofit organizations “voluntarily” closed their operations in Nicaragua, according to a Confidencial report.

“In most cases, Migob pointed out that these organizations were inactive or that they had a deficit of funds to carry out their projects,” the newspaper stated.

The UCICAM headquarters were located in the same facilities as La Purísima Major Seminary in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, and it was where the seminarians of the archdiocese received high-level formation in philosophy and theology since 2011.

The university rector was Father Eyleen Castro Rodríguez.

The first rector of UCICAM was Silvio Báez, auxiliary bishop of Managua, who currently lives in exile in the United States after receiving several death threats. Báez is one of the members of the clergy most critical of the Nicaraguan dictatorship.

From December 2021 to March 2023, some 19 universities in the country were forcibly shut down.

Among those affected are the John Paul II University and the Autonomous Christian University of Nicaragua (UCAN).

Unlike what happened with the UCICAM, these last two institutions of higher education were forced to transfer title to their furnishings and real estate property to the State of Nicaragua.

In the last five years there have been at least 529 attacks perpetrated by the dictatorship of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega against the Church, with 90 of them so far in 2023, according to the recent report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?” 

The report notes in particular the imprisonment of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who was unjustly sentenced to 26 years and four months in prison in February; the expulsion of 32 nuns from the country; seven Church buildings confiscated by the regime; and various Church media shut down.

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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