The Nicaraguan leader describes the Catholic church as “dictatorship” | Religious News

Daniel Ortega describes priests as “killers” and “coup d’etat” in a speech, accusing the clergy of working in the name of “American imperialism”.

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, described the Catholic Church as “perfect dictatorship” for not having allowed the members to elect the Pope.

In the church, “everything is imposed. It is a perfect dictatorship. It is a perfect tyranny, “said Ortega during a television speech on Wednesday to mark the 43rd anniversary of the creation of the Nicaraguan police.

“If they want to be democratic, let them start with Catholics voting for the Pope, for the cardinals, for the bishops.”

The Church of Nicaragua has undergone increasing pressure from the government since the 76 -year -old leader accused him of supporting demonstrations against his government in 2018. A repression against the demonstrators left hundreds of deaths.

Ortega maintains that demonstrations were part of a conspiracy of the opposition supported by the United States to overthrow it and accused bishops of complicity.

The tension between the Catholic Church and Nicaragua increased in March when Managua expelled the Vatican ambassador in the country [File: Honduras Presidency via Reuters]

Ortega called the bishops and the priests as “killers” and “putschists” in his speech, accusing them of working in the name of “American imperialism”.

“I would tell his holiness the Pope, respectfully, to the Catholic authorities, I am Catholic. As a Christian, I do not feel represented, “he said, referring to the” terrible story “of the Church.

Ortega has criticized topics ranging from the Inquisition in Spain and South America to the abuse of Indigenous children in Canada.

Ongoing conflict

Longtime tensions between the Catholic Church and Nicaragua increased in March when Managua expelled the Vatican ambassador to the country.

In August, a critical bishop of the government, Rolando Alvarez, was under house arrest for what the police qualified as “destabilizing and provocative” activities, arousing the concern of the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

At least four priests and two seminarians were also arrested, but the police did not specify the charges.

Pope Francis answers journalists' questions at a conference aboard the Papal plane during his return flight to Rome after visiting Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
Pope Francis said earlier this month than the “dialogue” between the Vatican and Managua was underway [File: Alessandro Di Meo via Reuters]

Earlier this month, Pope Francis insisted on the importance of “never stopping dialogue” with Nicaragua.

“There is a dialogue. We discuss with the government, ”said the pontiff. “That doesn’t mean we approve of everything the government does, or that we disapprove of it.”

Also on Wednesday, Ortega criticized the US Secretary of State Brian Nichols and the Chilean government, whose President Gabriel Boric recently criticized the Nicaraguan President for human rights violations.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions against Nicaraguan officials over the past four years, invoking rights violations.

Ortega directed Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 after the ouster of the leader supported by the United States, Anastasio Somoza. He returned to power in 2007.

In addition Wednesday, a diplomatic source said that Nicaraguan Minister for Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada had notified the EU ambassador to Managua, Bettina Muscheidt, of her expulsion, reported the reuters news agency.

Muscheidt was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she was declared “Persona Non Grata” and ordered to leave the country. It is no longer welcome in Nicaragua, according to one of the diplomatic sources, which has requested anonymity to discuss the decision.

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