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Police prevent delivery of medicine and food to 12 “hostages” in Matagalpa church

Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, is locked up along with five priests, two seminarians, two choristers, and two cameramen

Redacción Confidencial

9 de agosto 2022


Members of the different parishes of the Diocese of Matagalpa revealed that the National Police are preventing the delivery of medicines and food to the twelve Catholic faithful - six priests, two seminarians, two choir members, and two cameramen - “hostages” by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, in the Episcopal Curia of Matagalpa department. 

At the head of the group of “hostages” is Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez, bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, and the priests: José Luis Díaz and Sadiel Eugarrios, first and second vicar of the Cathedral San Pedro, respectively; Óscar Escoto, pastor of the church Santa María de Guadalupe; Ramiro Tijerino, rector of the University Juan Pablo II and in charge of the parish San Juan Bautista; and Raúl González.

The seminarians Darvin Leyva and Melkin Sequeira; the choristers Henri Corvera and Sujin Membreño; and the cameramen Sergio Cárdenas and Flavio Castro are also inside.

Last August 4, the police of the regime surrounded the curia and prevented the bishop and the other eleven people from leaving the place. A day later, the institution released a press release informing that Alvarez is under investigation for allegedly “organizing violent groups” and “carrying out acts of hatred”. It also indicated that “the persons under investigation will remain in their homes”. 

In a homily on August 6, the Bishop of Matagalpa affirmed that he does not know what he is being investigated for, noting that “they will be making their own conjectures”. 

No medicine and little food

The twelve people locked up by the Police do not have medicines inside the Curia and the police institution has prohibited the entry of these, according to information gathered by CONFIDENCIAL.

Some of the religious, who together with the group have been locked up in the curia for five days this Monday, suffer from chronic hypertension problems that require daily medication.

It was also learned that the group has little food, which they have had to ration since they do not know how long the regime intends to keep them locked up and without access to any food supply.

Residents and owners of businesses near the curia indicated that the area remains “taken by the police” and that the agents take “photographs of those who by force must pass through there”, and even the businesses have been forbidden to make home deliveries, to avoid the circulation of motorized vehicles.

This Sunday and Monday there was no live transmission of the midday Eucharist, which Monsignor Rolando Álvarez assured would be held every day while they remained locked up. According to the newspaper La Prensa, the “hostages” decided to restrict communication with the outside world for fear that the police had tapped their telephones, so they are only communicating with “people they trust”.

The CEN informed in its social networks that Álvarez inaugurated the participation of the Nicaraguan Church in the World Youth Day this Monday, August 8, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2023.

The bishop, president of the Youth Department of the CEN, was connected virtually from the chapel of the Misericordias, inside the Episcopal Curia.

Persecution against the Catholic Church

The Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) reaffirmed its support for Monsignor Rolando Alvarez through a press release this Sunday, highlighting that the situation suffered by the religious “touches our hearts as bishops and the Nicaraguan Church”. The bishops, quoting a speech of Benedict XVI, expressed the feeling of the Church which, by nature, “proclaims the Gospel of Peace and is open to collaborating with all national and international authorities to take care of this great universal good”.

In the last two months, the regime of Ortega and Murillo undertook a repressive escalation against the Catholic Church that so far, has left two priests imprisoned, 18 religious expelled from the country, two priests under siege, one of them now in prison, and the closure of a dozen religious media.

Priest Manuel Salvador García Rodríguez, parish priest of the Jesús de Nazareno church -also known as El Calvario-, in Nandaime, Granada, was the first religious to face the justice of the regime, being sentenced last June 22 to two years in prison for the alleged crime of threatening five people with a knife and a fine of 14,116 córdobas or 200 days fine.

Last July 6, 18 missionaries of Charity, an order founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were expelled from the country, being transferred from Managua and Granada to the border with Costa Rica, by the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME) and the Police.

Also, Monsignor Leonardo Urbina, priest of the Perpetuo Socorro parish in Boaco, has been in preventive detention since July 13, awaiting trial for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl.

Priest Uriel Vallejos and a group of parishioners remained besieged by the police for almost four days in the parish house of the Jesús de la Divina Misericordia parish, in Sébaco.

In addition, between August 1 and 2, the regime closed 14 media outlets: eleven radio stations, ten belonging to the Diocese of Matagalpa, and the independent Radio Vos. They also took several cable television channels and the local channel RB3 “El Canal de la Zona Láctea”, whose programming was transmitted through subscription television, off the air. 

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


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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.