AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Government forbids entry to OAS Commission, for the Church "it is a real pity"

Monday, 16 September 2019 human rights   area crisis   politics   social situation   local churches  


Managua (Agenzia Fides) - "The Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Nicaragua, composed of representatives from Argentina, Canada, Jamaica, Paraguay and United States of America, expresses its discomfort at the Nicaraguan Government decision of not granting access to the country to its members and an OAS officer enforced by a communication from the migration agency issued today (15 September)": this is the official statement released by the OAS. The text continues: "The Commission planned a trip to Nicaragua on 16-17 September in order to fullfil its mandate of carrying out diplomatic efforts at the highest level to seek a peaceful and effective solution to the political and social crisis in Nicaragua. The Commission was designated and its members appointed on 30 August and was asked to submit a report to the Permanent Council within a maximum of 75 days".
The statement states that the Nicaraguan Government had been informed of the trip given the Commission’s intention to engage in a constructive way with its authorities as well as relevant civil society stakeholders in order to set up a dialogue process to reach such solution, "facing the deterioration of democratic institutions and human rights in Nicaragua".
The Catholic community, informed of this decision, criticized the government's attitude through Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes. After the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral of Managua, the Cardinal said: "It is a sin, dialogue is important. The Holy Father has repeated on several occasions that dialogue is the key, the OAS is recognized as the institution which always promotes dialogue".
Nicaraguans live in the hope of a radical change in the politics of the country. Only 15 days ago a mass was celebrated to demand the release of political prisoners (see Fides, 29/8/2019). The report of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, in a note sent to Fides, informs that of the 126 political prisoners, 53 were sentenced, 37 are on trial and 36 were arrested; 75 are imprisoned in the La Modelo prison system, 38 in police stations and 13 in the judicial assistance office, known as El Chipote.
The Catholic Church led the first attempt of National Dialogue (see Fides, 15/6/2018) but the government of President Ortega has accused bishops and priests of being "coup leaders" only because they have often assumed the defense of the weakest. Since the protests against the government began in April 2018, protests have increased more and more to demand President Ortega to leave office and early elections. The demonstrations were put under pressure by security forces and pro-government militias, causing at least 325 people killed, over 2,000 injured and over 52,000 escaped from the country, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 16/9/2019)