Police Kidnap Numerous Catholic Priests in Nicaragua

Silvio Fonseca, Miguel Mantica, Mykel Monterrey, Gerardo Rodriguez and Raul Zamora were abducted from their temples

31 de diciembre 2023


Daniel Ortega’s Police unleashed on December 29 and 30, 2023, a brutal witch-hunt against leaders of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua. Five priests were kidnapped: Silvio Fonseca, Miguel Mantica, Mykel Monterrey, Gerardo Rodriguez and Raul Zamora, ecclesiastical sources informed CONFIDENCIAL.

The five religious people belong to the Archdiocese of Managua, led by the Nicaraguan cardinal, Leopoldo Brenes, who has remained silent regarding the latest arrests of priests.

“This week the Sandinista dictatorship has unleashed a fierce witch-hunt against priests, taking several of them to prison, adding to two bishops who were already imprisoned,” denounced the exiled auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Baez, on his social media account.

“I beg the bishops and the episcopal conferences of the world not to abandon us at this moment, to pray for the Church of Nicaragua and to show solidarity and raise their voices denouncing this persecution by the dictatorship against our Church!” he concluded.

The detained priests

Monsignor Silvio Fonseca, vicar of Family, Life and Childhood of the Archdiocese of Managua, was kidnapped on the night of Friday, December 29, by police, who previously laid siege for hours to the church where the religious leader was.

According to sources, police officers were outside the Santa Faz church in Bello Horizonte during the day, where Fonseca is the parish priest. They waited for night to go in to abduct him.

Silvio Fonseca is an outspoken critic of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo. In statements and interviews with local media, he has accused the regime of “promoting a hatred never seen before” against the Catholic Church, and of “depriving the Catholic people of being formed in their faith.”

After Fonseca’s kidnapping was reported, it was learned that Monsignor Miguel Mantica Cuadras, parish priest of the Francisco de Asís Church, in Bolonia, Managua, was also arrested.

Like Fonseca, Monsignor Mantica has criticized the actions of the Ortega regime. In an interview with CONFIDENCIAL, he denounced that, since 2019, there has been a “persecution against the Catholic Church” in Nicaragua.

During the night of Friday the 29th and the early morning of the 30th, priest Mykel Monterrey, parish priest of the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria church, in Managua, was also kidnapped.

This arrest was confirmed this Saturday, December 30, by the exiled Nicaraguan lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina, who reported it on her social networks. She has followed the dictatorship’s attacks against the Church and is the author of the study titled “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?”

Molina also denounced the arrest of priests Gerardo Rodríguez, parish priest of the Purísima Concepción church, in the Belmonte neighborhood, and Raul Zamora, of the Divina Misericordia parish in Managua.

The researcher highlighted that, in all cases, “there is no formal accusation” against the priests and “there is no information about their whereabouts.”

List of imprisoned priests grows

These arrests are in addition to that of priest Fernando Calero and Monsignor Marcos Diaz Prado. Both occurred on Thursday, December 28, according to Molina.

Calero is parish priest of Our Lady of Fátima in the municipality of Rancho Grande, of the Diocese of Matagalpa. According to Molina, he was “kidnapped by the National Police in his parish” after having mentioned the imprisoned bishop Rolando Alvarez, who presides over the Diocese of Matagalpa.

Díaz Prado is vicar of the Santo Tomas Apostol church of Puerto de Corinto, in Chinandega, which belongs to the Diocese of Leon, led by Bishop Socrates Rene Sandigo.

Díaz Prado and Calero join priests Carlos Aviles and Hector Treminio, vicar general and treasurer of the Archdiocese of Managua, respectively, who were also detained on Thursday by the Police and civilians.

Last week, authorities detained Bishop Isidoro Mora, two priests and two seminarians.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.


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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.


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