Logo de Confidencial Digital




Expulsion of apostolic nuncio “seriously undermines relations” with the Holy See

Within one month, the Ortega regime withdrew its ambassador to Spain, cancelled the credentials of the Colombian ambassador and expelled the nuncio

President Daniel Ortega with Nuncio Waldemar Stalislaw Sommertag, who was expelled from the country, as confirmed by the Vatican. Photo: Taken from El 19 Digital

Redacción Confidencial

15 de marzo 2022


The confirmation of the expulsion of the apostolic nuncio Monsignor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, through a communiqué issued by the Vatican this saturday “seriously breaks the relations” between the Holy See and the Government, but also says a lot about its “authoritarian drift”, says a former diplomat, who requested that his identity be kept confidential. He added that as long as Daniel Ortega's regime remains closed to any kind of dialogue, it makes no sense for the Vatican to send another representative.

The Vatican assured that it was with “surprise and pain” that they received “the notice that the Government of Nicaragua has decided to withdraw the blessing (agrément) to his Eminence Monsignor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, Apostolic Nuncio in Managua since 2018, imposing him to leave the country immediately after notifying him of that measure,” reads the letter. 

The agrément is given before the accreditation as ambassador of the representative, and what occurs once accepted and accredited is a non grato declaration, explained the ex-diplomat.However, the Ortega regime limited itself to expelling him de facto.

The nuncio left the country on the night of March 6 without saying goodbye to the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference and the diplomatic corps. The Vatican described the measure taken by the Ortega regime as a “grave and unjustified unilateral decision”, “which reaffirms the character of expulsion, which is generally a step prior to a rupture of diplomatic relations”, said the consulted source. When situations of this type occur, it implies a “thorough assessment of the relations between the countries”, and that takes time, he added. 

Ortega deepens his international isolation

The move of the regime with respect to the representative of the Holy See is not an isolated fact, but corresponds to a “policy of zero tolerance with the international community, in its efforts to achieve the release of political prisoners and a peaceful solution to the general crisis in the country”.

It is “a policy that seeks to frighten countries and their diplomatic representatives, but which produces a totally opposite effect, of rejection and reaffirmation of the unjust and arbitrary nature of the sentences and a greater isolation of the dictatorship”, the diplomatic source stressed. 

The Ortega regime has described the calls of the international community to resolve the crisis in the country as “interference” and has ignored the resolutions of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States for the country to return to the path of democracy and respect for the rule of law. Instead, it continues to isolate itself internationally.

Recent diplomatic clashes

On Thursday, March 10, Nicaragua withdrew ambassador Carlos Antonio Midence, in Spain, under the argument of alleged “pressures and threats of interference”. 

The action occurred after Midence was summoned by Juan Fernández Trigo, the Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean and for Spanish around the World,  to express his displeasure for the refusal of the Ortega government to allow the return of Spanish ambassador María del Mar Fernández-Palacios to Nicaragua, who was summoned for consultations by her government on August 11.

Similarly, the regime withdrew the credentials of the Colombian ambassador to Nicaragua, Alfredo Rangel Suarez this month. The measure occurred hours after the Colombian government ordered its diplomatic representative to return to the country after the Nicaraguan president accused the administration of Iván Duque of being a “narco-state”.

Both Colombia and Spain have questioned the human rights violations by the Ortega regime, as well as the persecution against the opposition and the imprisonment of its main leaders.

In the Vatican communiqué, they recognize the participation of Monsignor Sommertag as a witness and accompanier of the National Dialogue between the Government and the political opposition, seeking to achieve national reconciliation and the release of political prisoners.

“The fact that this has happened with the Vatican is especially delicate, due to the strictly humanitarian nature of the efforts and because he is the representative of Pope Francis”, said the diplomatic source. 

In fact, after the Vatican confirmed the expulsion of the nuncio, the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN), thanked him for his “diplomatic and pastoral” work. 

They recalled that thanks to the efforts of Monsignor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, they delivered hygiene articles, food and drinks to the political prisoners in 2021, and made “constant calls for family visits and their just release”, reads the communiqué. 

On November 18, 2021, the Government of Nicaragua annulled by decree the position of “dean of the diplomatic corps”, which since 2000 corresponded to the apostolic nuncio, representative of the Holy See.

This article was originally piublished in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staff



Your contribution allows us to report from exile.

The dictatorship forced us to leave Nicaragua and intends to censor us. Your financial contribution guarantees our coverage on a free, open website, without paywalls.

Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.