Jesuits’ superior general condemns seizure of university by Nicaragua dictatorship

Central American University (UCA) in Nicaragua The economic sciences building of the Central American University (UCA) in Nicaragua. | Credit: Courtesy of the Jesuits Central America

The superior general of the Jesuits, Father Arturo Sosa, condemned the confiscation this week of the Central American University (UCA) by the Daniel Ortega dictatorship in Nicaragua, denouncing the measure as “unjust” and detrimental to the country.

The expropriation of the assets of the UCA, considered one of the main private educational institutions in the country and whose closure has left more than 9,500 students without access to education, was strongly criticized both nationally and internationally.

Sosa expressed his consternation over the situation in a letter also posted on X addressed to the provincial curia of Central America in San Salvador, headed by Father José Domingo Cuesta, SJ. In his statement, issued on Aug. 17 from Rome, Sosa expressed his “great surprise and greater pain for the consequences for the youth and for the entire people of Nicaragua.”

The superior general of the Jesuits denounced the confiscation and expressed his solidarity with the UCA, its directors, and its teaching and administrative staff.

“The accusations made against the UCA are totally false and without any foundation,” Sosa said.

“Furthermore, the right to legitimate defense has been denied. A fair trial, with impartial justice, would bring to light the truth of the entire plot that the government has executed against the UCA since the 2018 youth protests, as well as against many other works of the Catholic Church and thousands of civil society institutions, in order to suffocate, close, or appropriate them,” he pointed out.

Sosa noted that the university has been a beacon of social commitment, promoting the right to free thought and quality education for all.

The Jesuit superior general said the measures against the UCA are a manifestation of the climate of violence and insecurity that has been established in the country. 

“With similar slanders, they have also trampled on the rights of so many people, their reputation, their lives, and their property,” he said.

Besides condemning the injustice suffered by the UCA, Sosa also called for reconciliation and dialogue.

“I join the demand for this judicial measure against the UCA to be reversed and corrected, so that the government’s aggression against it and its members cease, so that paths of dialogue based on truth, freedom, and the right to quality of education for the youth and for all the people of Nicaragua be opened.”

In his letter, Sosa quoted the 36th General Congregation (GC36) of the society, which stressed the importance of remaining steadfast in the search for a better world and dedicated to “those who work in marginal situations and persecution to defend the truth.”

“Even in times when we face great challenges and seeming defeats, we continue to dream of helping to recreate a different world, because we have met ‘he who has the power to do all things incomparably better than we can ask or think,’” the GC36 document states.

The UCA, founded in 1960 by the Jesuits, has faced harassment and repression since the anti-government protests in 2018. The confiscation order has been seen as part of a larger pattern of government oppression that has also affected other Catholic institutions and critical voices.

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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