AMERICA/NICARAGUA - The Bishops recall "the basic and indispensable conditions in order to hold free, fair and transparent elections"

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 elections   human rights   democracy   episcopal conferences  

Managua (Agenzia Fides) - "As we have stated on several occasions, an authentic democracy is the result of the convinced acceptance of values: the dignity of every person, respect for human rights, the search for the common good as the goal and regulatory criterion of life politics. If there is no general consensus on these values, the meaning of democracy is lost and its stability is compromised". This was stated by the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, reiterating that "Institutionality is not secondary in a democratic State, possible only in a State of law, in which the exercise of power is subject to compliance with the law without restrictions and is characterized by the independence and separation of State powers". "These are, among others, the basic and indispensable conditions in order to hold free, fair and transparent elections", underline the Bishops. The Bishops' Conference urges every Nicaraguan, in the face of the situation we live in, to decide and act "according to the inviolable dignity of his conscience, freely", to do what he considers most just and convenient at this moment for Nicaragua. On Sunday, November 7, about 4.5 million Nicaraguan citizens are called to the polls to elect the President of the Republic, 90 deputies of the National Assembly and 20 members of the Central American Parliament. The current President, Daniel Ortega, is seeking re-election for the third time at any cost, together with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as Vice President. The tension between the government and the Catholic Church has been growing in recent times. The Archdiocese of Managua denounced the systematic violation of political and constitutional rights and the persecution unleashed by the Ortega regime against opponents: presidential candidates, journalists and political leaders. To this are added "the threats to the Catholic Church, offenses against its priests and bishops, the limitations in the issuance of visas or residence to foreign priests, the harassment of lay parishioners and other illegal and intimidating actions" (see Fides, 12/8/2021). The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, denounced the growing attack on freedoms in Nicaragua, ahead of the elections, with arbitrary detentions, the invalidation of candidacies and the cancellation of political parties (see Fides, 15/9/2021).
"With the heart of Pastors - the Bishops write in this last note - we walk among the people of God... we are close to the sick, to families disintegrated by forced emigration, to the unemployed, refugees, exiles, those deprived of their freedom and their families". At the end of the message, the Nicaraguan Bishops recall that "prayer is our strength" and exhort to intensify the moments of prayer in homes, families, communities: "We ask Mary Most Holy, Help of Christians, to intercede for us". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 26/10/2021)