Crackdown on Religious Institutions – Expulsions and Threats in Nicaragua

Crackdown on Religious Institutions – Expulsions and Threats in Nicaragua

Government’s Authoritarian Move:

On January 16, the Ministry of the Interior, as published in the official government newspaper La Gaceta, took a controversial step by issuing an agreement to cancel the legal personhood and registration of 16 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Among these, 10 are affiliated with Catholic and evangelical institutions, marking a significant move in Nicaragua’s political landscape.

Targets of Repression:

Among the targeted organizations were prominent religious groups such as the Consecrated Missionaries of the Most Holy Savior Foundation and the Missionaries of the Company of Mary Association, known as the Montfort Missionaries.

This repressive measure reflects an increasing trend of governmental interference with religious entities, impacting their legal standing and operational autonomy.

Expulsion of Father David Pérez:

Adding to the tension, Father David Pérez, affiliated with the Consecrated Missionaries of the Most Holy Savior, was expelled from Nicaragua.

Father Pérez had been serving as the head of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Parish in the William Fonseca neighborhood of León.

This expulsion not only disrupts the religious leadership but also raises concerns about the fate of properties owned by the affected religious orders.

Risk of Property Confiscation:

The cancellation of legal personhood not only undermines the identity of these religious organizations but also places their physical assets at risk.

As highlighted by observers, two residences owned by the Consecrated Missionaries of the Most Holy Savior now face potential confiscation, intensifying the impact of this authoritarian move.

Consecrated Missionaries of the Most Holy Savior:

The Consecrated Missionaries of the Most Holy Savior describe themselves as a public and clerical association of the faithful aspiring to become an Institute of Consecrated Life.

Their commitment to a contemplative-missionary life is reflected in their presence across dioceses in Mexico City, Quintana Roo state, and Nicaragua.

The cancellation of their legal status poses a severe threat to their ability to fulfill their religious and community-oriented missions.

Continued Crackdown:

This incident comes shortly after the Nicaraguan dictatorship released and deported numerous religious figures, including two bishops, 15 priests, and two seminarians.

Among those released was Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who had endured unjust imprisonment for an extended period.

The consistent pattern of repression against religious leaders suggests a broader strategy to suppress dissent and control religious institutions.

Conclusion:

The recent actions by the Nicaraguan government represent an alarming trend of authoritarianism, specifically targeting religious organizations.

The expulsion of Father David Pérez and the cancellation of legal personhood for numerous NGOs demonstrate a blatant disregard for religious freedom and autonomy.

The international community must closely monitor these developments and advocate for the protection of human rights in Nicaragua.

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