Washington D.C., Aug 1, 2018 / 12:30 pm
The White House has issued a statement expressing support for the Catholic Church's diplomatic efforts in Nicaragua and announcing $1.5 million in U.S. funds to bolster human rights organizations and independent media in the country.
"The United States stands with the people of Nicaragua, including members of the Sandinista party, who are calling for democratic reforms and an end to the violence. Free, fair, and transparent elections are the only avenue toward restoring democracy in Nicaragua," reads the July 30 statement.
"We support the Catholic Church-led National Dialogue process for good faith negotiations," it continues.
Since widespread demonstrations broke out in April, the Nicaraguan Church has mediated peace talks between President Daniel Ortega and the opposition. However, as the Nicaraguan government's response to the protestors has grown increasingly violent, Ortega has accused the Catholic bishops of working against him, calling them "part of the plan with the coup-plotters."
"The government of Daniel Ortega is virtually waging war on the Catholic Church," said Vice President Mike Pence in a speech at the State Department last week.