The National Police, under the command of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, kidnapped Monsignor Carlos Aviles, the General Vicar of the Archdiocese of Managua, on Thursday, December 28, 2023. The news was reported by lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina, who has been monitoring the dictatorship’s attacks against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua.
Monsignor Aviles has been an outspoken critic of the presidential couple, stating in an interview in June 2022 that the people of Nicaragua “want this government to go.”
Sources close to the Catholic Church informed CONFIDENCIAL that, so far, they only know that Aviles was arrested by police officers after leaving a meeting at the Archdiocesan Curia offices in the Las Sierritas area of Managua.
“The clergy of the Archdiocese of Managua are in prayer in the face of so much arbitrariness. Monsignor Avilés’ life is in danger. May the dictatorship respect his physical integrity,” Molina posted.
According to Molina, the kidnapping of the General Vicar is the “first arbitrariness” of the recently resurrected Ministry of the Interior (MINT), formerly the Ministry of Governance (Migob).
The opposition Blue and White Unity grouping also denounced the detention of the priest from the Archdiocese of Managua, led by Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, who has not yet commented on the kidnapping.
Carlos Avilés’ detention adds to that of other religious figures in recent weeks, who were kidnapped for offering prayers on behalf of Bishop Rolando Alvarez, who had already spent 508 days in captivity on Christmas Day.
Priest Jader Guido, the second vicar of the Cathedral of San Pedro Apostol in Matagalpa, was detained after the Mass on December 24, where he prayed for Alvarez and “for all priests, religious people, and nuns in our Diocese.” He was released before midnight on the same day.
Guido’s arrest followed several days of police harassment at the Matagalpa Curia and harassment against the vicar general of the Diocese, Monsignor Oscar Escoto Salgado, who was kidnapped by police and armed civilians on the night of December 21, released the next morning, and then, on the night of the 22nd, was forced to leave the episcopal residence in Matagalpa to be taken to Managua. He was released on Christmas Eve.
Another attack on the Church occurred days earlier in La Cruz de Rio Grande, in the South Caribbean Region, where police and armed civilians kidnapped Bishop Isidoro del Carmen Mora Ortega of the Siuna Diocese, as well as seminarians Alester Saenz and Tony Palacios, who remain in a condition of forced disappearance.
Nobody from the regime nor the Nicaraguan Church has officially commented on the detentions of Bishop Mora and the seminarians.
Relations between the Ortega regime and the Catholic Church are experiencing moments of great tension, marked by the expulsion and imprisonment of priests, the prohibition of religious activities, and the suspension of diplomatic relations with the Vatican.