The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua warned this Saturday that the authorities use state institutions to preserve "power at any cost," and that the criminalization of protests is "the most serious threat to peace," in the midst of the worst crisis sociopolitical of the country in decades.
The Episcopate made the warning in a message to Catholics and "people who have aspirations for peace, justice and democracy" in Nicaragua, where protests against President Daniel Ortega have left hundreds dead, prisoners and disappeared, more than tens of thousands in exile
"Institutionalized abusive actions are a complex strategy at the service of preserving power at any cost," said the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, in its message.
The clergy of Nicaragua has played a leading role in the crisis that broke out on April 18, 2018, because most of their bishops and priests exposed their lives to save those of thousands of protesters in government armed attacks on protesters.
The Episcopate was also a mediator in Ortega's first dialogue with the opposition to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, which failed in July 2018 when the president accused the bishops of driving an alleged "coup d'etat."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Acnudh) have indicated that the Government of Nicaragua is responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture, inhuman treatment and sexual violence against protesters.
Currently, the Nicaraguan Police maintain a strict prohibition of expressions of rejection towards Ortega, as well as the use of national symbols, especially of the national flag, despite the fact that jurists claim that the measure contradicts the Constitution.
Contrary to the claims of peace that Ortega preaches in each speech, the Episcopal Conference highlighted what, in his opinion, is the main threat against peace, when an apparent majority of Nicaraguans oppose the president.
"In Nicaragua, the criminalization of the protest of large sectors of the population has since last year become the most serious threat against the peace and freedom of our country," according to the Episcopate.
The bishops noted that the criminalization of the protest is not only limited to disqualification, but also includes "taking legal action against Nicaraguans who were exercising their right."
In Nicaragua there are about 140 "political prisoners" who were arrested for protesting against Ortega, and about 112 people of whom nothing is known since they were captured by police and paramilitaries, according to the opposition.
The Episcopate issued its message "with the aim of ensuring the civic and religious freedom of the people of God so that they manifest their freedom and faith without any intimidation or risk," and added that it is "one of their basic obligations enlighten consciences. "
He also said he had hope in "a state of sincere reconciliation", not to mention the hundreds of "peace, justice and reconciliation commissions" established by the Government, which have not eased tensions in Nicaragua.
Data from the IACHR indicate that in 17 months of crisis at least 328 people have died. Local organizations raise the amount up to 595. The Government has recognized 200.
. (tagsToTranslate) Nicaragua (t) preserve (t) any (t) warns (t) Episcopate