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The Catholic Church was expecting the “expulsion” of the Apostolic Nuncio

The regime did not suspend his diplomatic credentials, but imposed a deadline for Waldemar Sommertag to leave the country.

The regime did not suspend his diplomatic credentials

Redacción Confidencial

9 de marzo 2022


The “de facto expulsion”  of the Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stalislaw Sommertag was abrupt, but was actually expected due to the frank deterioration of relations between the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo and the representative of the Holy See, Catholic Church sources revealed to CONFIDENCIAL. 

A high representative of the Church, who asked not to be quoted, expressed “that we had already noticed the frank deterioration of the relations” between the Government and Monsignor Sommertag.

The Apostolic Nuncio left the country abruptly on the night of Sunday, March 6, without formally bidding farewell to the diplomatic corps, the Catholic community of the country and the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN).

It is expected that this Tuesday the CEN will issue a statement regarding the departure of the nuncio, after holding an emergency meeting this Monday, March 7, to address the diplomatic crisis. 

“It was a surprise, but not an absolute one. The Church had already seen it coming,” the source added. 

A turning point in this process of deterioration of relations was on November 18, 2021, when the Nicaraguan government annulled the figure of “dean of the diplomatic corps” by decree, which corresponded to the apostolic nuncio, representative of the Holy See, since 2000.

Ortega reformed the State protocol through decree 21-2021, which recognized the representative of the Holy Father as the dean of the diplomatic corps in its article six and in his absence the most senior accredited ambassador. The new decision states that there should be no distinction among heads of mission and urges “equal treatment among all.”

“He was removed from the deanship of the diplomatic corps when the nuncio began to use the term ‘political prisoners’ which he had avoided until then,” the source said. 

He explained that Monsignor Sommertag had no plans to leave Nicaragua soon and that “it is not at all common” for a nuncio to leave his diplomatic mission in an untimely manner. The Polish-born diplomat, who arrived in the country after the outbreak of the 2018 crisis, was still several months away from the end of his three-year term of diplomatic representation in Nicaragua. He was an interlocutor in relation to the demand for the release of political prisoners kidnapped by the Ortega dictatorship. 

Regime removes its representative to the Holy See

The government of Daniel Ortega cancelled the appointment of Nicaragua's diplomatic representative to the Vatican, in the context of the announcement of the departure of the apostolic nuncio from the country. 

This Monday, March 7, the Ministerial Agreement 09-2022 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua was published in La Gaceta, Official Gazette of the State, whereby the appointment of Sandy Anabell Dávila Sandoval as Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Nicaragua to the Holy See was cancelled. 

In this same edition of La Gaceta, it is reported that Dávila Sandoval will be transferred to assume the position of minister counselor with consular functions at the Nicaraguan embassy in Japan. 

The publication does not announce the appointment of any official to assume the diplomatic representation of Nicaragua before the Vatican.

This same Monday, a communiqué from the Nunciature confirmed at midday that Monsignor Sommertag “left the country” on Sunday, March 6, and that the secretary of the Nunciature, Monsignor Marcel Mbaye Diouf, “remained at the head of the diplomatic mission as chargé d’affaires”.

The sources consulted by CONFIDENCIAL did not specify if there was a detonator that triggered his departure or if it was a gradual deterioration in the relationship between the Government and the nuncio. 

“The only thing we know is that the Government imposed on him a peremptory deadline to end his diplomatic mission in the country, a de facto expulsion, and he made the decision to leave this Sunday,” said the source. 

Will the Vatican appoint another nuncio?

Political analyst and former congressman Eliseo Núñez Morales pointed out that the good relations that Monsignor Sommertag once had, mainly with Rosario Murillo, were already a thing of the past. 

He insisted that the departure of the apostolic nuncio suddenly, before a “declaration of non grata” was given, is because of the Vatican's intention to leave an open channel with the Nicaraguan government.   

“The regime does not dare to declare him persona non grata, but presses for him to leave. This has not been seen so openly, but it is part of the regime's game of imposing its narrative and its style of government without anyone interfering with it. For a long time now, we could see things coming that evidenced that a relationship that the nuncio had achieved, mainly with Rosario Murillo, which worked for the release of political prisoners and served for some small concessions given by Ortega, was going down the drain”, explained Núñez. 

“It seems to me that the Vatican is not willing to confront the regime, because a possible outcome would have been that they would have allowed their representative to be expelled. They want to leave an open channel. The interesting thing will be whether or not they appoint another nuncio, because appointing a nuncio implies presenting credentials, and that at the same time implies recognizing Ortega's investiture. Another thing that could happen is that they leave the chargé d'affaires permanently, which is a message of non-recognition”, he added. 


This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by our staffhttps://mailchi.mp/confidencial.digital/englishnewsletterform


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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.