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Police Seize San Francisco de Asis Institute in Matagalpa

Occupation of the building takes place hours after the government cancelled the legal status of the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor

View of the inauguration of the 2023 school year at the San Francisco de Asís Institute in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Redacción Confidencial

24 de octubre 2023


The Ministry of Education (Mined) along with the National Police have taken control of the facilities of the San Francisco de Asis Institute located in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, confirmed several parents who have their children attending the school.

“They removed the students from classes and told them they would be notified when classes resumed. They didn’t provide any further explanation. But the teachers were called to a meeting,” report the parents.

The confiscation occurs near the end of the school year in November, leaving the students in limbo.

The Mined authorities “took all the computers that were in the institute,” confirmed the sources.

The occupation of the San Francisco de Asis Institute happened hours after the Ministry of Governance (Migob) canceled the legal status of the Company of the Friars Minor Franciscans of the Seraphic Province of Asís in Nicaragua, which was administering the institute. This religious order has been in existence in the country for 58 years.

The cancellation occurred because allegedly the order was in violation for failing to report its financial statements for 2022. In the same resolution, Migob ordered the transfer of assets to the State of Nicaragua.  As in the case of over three thousand other non-profits shuddered by the Ortega regime, the victims have no right of appeal.

This institute was founded in 1972 by Friar Aquiles Bonucci, who belongs to the Friars Minor Order. The school is part of the Franciscan Provincial Educational Project, which includes more schools in the departments of Managua, Matagalpa, and Juigalpa.

Among the schools that are part of the order are the Liceo Franciscano, located in Altamira, Managua; the San Francisco de Asis School in Diriamba, Carazo; and the San Francisco de Asis College in Juigalpa, Chontales.

Ortega’s dictatorship has already denied entry to the country to several Franciscan friars. The most recent known case is that of Friar Carlos Treminio, who was returning from Guatemala after participating in a meeting of the Permanent Formation Commission of the Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Central America and Panama.


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The friar, originally from Matagalpa, served as the superior of the Friars Minor Order at the Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fátima Parish in the Centroamérica neighborhood, located in Managua. The incident occurred on November 16, 2022.

This is not the first grade school to be confiscated by the Mined. Last May, the ministry intervened in the Susana Lopez Carazo School, one of the emblematic works of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation in the department of Rivas. The takeover occurred a month after the regime expelled three nuns from this congregation, who also ran the Lopez Carazo elderly care home.

That same month, the dictatorship forcibly seized the Santa Luisa de Marillac Technical Institute, owned by the religious congregation of the same name, and the only Catholic high school in the municipality of San Sebastián de Yalí, in the department of Jinotega.

Migob Eliminates 25 NGOs

In addition to the Friars Minor order, 16 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were also just eliminated. These include: the Las Golondrinas Women’s Association, the Foundation for Comprehensive Care of Children with Autism (CAINNA), the Xuchialt Artistic Foundation, the Moers-La Trinidad Foundation, and the Foundation for Support of Indigenous Ethno-Development.

There was also a group of evangelical organizations, such as the Intentionality Church Association of Christ in Nicaragua, the Christian Association El Cordero Apocalypse 21:23, the Altar Family Ministries Foundation, the Nicaraguan Association of Churches of Christ, and the Impacto Juvenil Evangelical Association of Nicaragua.

Eight other organizations dissolved voluntarily. These include: the Open Heart Program Association; the Association of Educators and Educators of Community Preschools in Estelí; the Association of Private Trade Schools in Nicaragua; the San Jose de Los Remates Cattle Ranchers Association; the Association of Former Students and Friends of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; and Eat United.

With these cancellations, Migob has eliminated 3,393 NGOs between November 2018 and October 2023, plus another hundred that were canceled due to “voluntary dissolution.”

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


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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.