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Monsignor Alvarez begins hunger strike and demands end to police persecution

The bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, denounced on the night of Thursday, May 19, that Police of the Ortega-Murillo regime harassed him throughout the day, even invading the house of his relatives.

“Today I have been persecuted throughout the day by the Sandinista Police, from morning until late at night. At all times, during all my movements of the day”, he said in a video posted on the Facebook page of the Diocese of Matagalpa.

Alvarez narrated that “at the end of the afternoon” when he was at a niece’s house he questioned the police officers why they were persecuting him and they replied that “they obey orders.”

“I also told them to contact the National Police Chief Francisco Díaz, to inform him that this persecution was enough for today, and that I hoped, after having dinner at my niece’s house, that they too they could be resting”, he detailed.

However, he regretted that “far from that happening, what really happened was the opposite: they entered into my family privacy circle. I really believed, that a basic will or minimal common sense would prevail on the part of the superior authorities of the Police and the Government.”

“They came to my private, family, paternal, maternal home, putting the safety of my family at risk. So, I returned to the parish of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas, here in Las Colinas, where I want to thank Monsignor Carlos Avilés, who has given me lodging, and has welcomed me as a guest in this parish,” Álvarez said.

Start fasting until the harassment stops

The bishop stated that since last night he began “an indefinite water and serum fast until the Police, through the president or vice president of the Episcopal Conference, let me know they are going to respect my family’s privacy.”

“At one of the traffic lights on the highway to Masaya, where I stopped to ask them again what was going on (with the persecution). They told me that it was for my safety, but I already know precisely that the insecurity in this country, is from the Police. I let them know that those who make us feel insecure with this persecution, are you, police brothers,” the Catholic leader told the officers.

Álvarez invited the Catholic people of Matagalpa and Estelí “and all those who want to join me in this indefinite fast, to do so”, starting today, going to the parishes of the two Dioceses “that I am currently pastoring, that where the parish priests allow it, to adore the Blessed Sacrament, to pray, to sing, to praise the Lord, and to fast for as long as you consider convenient.”

“Also to make vigils, united with me. I will be in prayer. I’ll be doing exorcism from here, I’ll be praying. I will be before the Blessed Sacrament, celebrating the Eucharist. I will be raising my pleas to the Lord, so that this situation of harsh and cruel harassment for all of us can cease,” he concluded by saying in the video.

The auxiliary bishop of Managua, Monsignor Silvio Jose Baez, expressed his solidarity and his “fraternal closeness” with Alvarez “who is being harassed by the Police.”

“I join your prayer, asking the Lord to protect you with the strength of his Spirit,” Baez posted on his Twitter account.

Persecution against religious leaders

The harassment and police persecution by the regime against priests of the Catholic Church has intensified in the last week. Father Harving Padilla, from the San Juan Bautista parish in Masaya, has denounced that since last May 15, the regime has imposed “parish for prison” on him, since he is surrounded by police and paramilitaries.

“They (police officers) say that I can go out at any time I want, but how am I going to go out being insecure, with those people there, how safe can one feel when civilians are constantly stationed there, people we know are aggressive paramilitaries? To prevent them from having any confrontation with me, I prefer not to go out. I have a parish for a prison,” said the priest in an interview with the Esta Noche Internet TV program.

On Wednesday, May 18, the priest Uriel Vallejos, parish priest of the Divina Misericordia de Sebaco parish, reported being a victim of police harassment.

“Agents of the National Police who are in a booth outside the (Apostolic) Nunciature, took photographs and then waited for me to come out and there were other officers, who asked the driver for documents, and then demanded that I present my personal documents, to which I objected because I wasn’t driving”, denounced the priest through the social networks of the parish.

They will continue to “denounce” and “accompany the people”

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua spoke out this Wednesday in the face of the wave of repression and the State’s intentions to imprison priests for alleged “treason against the country.” In a statement published on their social networks, the bishops emphasized that they will continue to denounce “social structures of sin” and accompany the poorest and weakest Nicaraguans.

“The Church will continue to preach the Gospel, denouncing the social structures of sin, accompanying the people, especially the poor and the weak. The mission of the Church will always cause contradictions in this world where along with the light there is also the darkness of evil”, they stated.

On May 4, Sandinista deputies who are members of the Commission for Justice and Legal Affairs, and the Commission for Peace, Defense, Governance and Human Rights of the National Assembly discussed, among other matters, that “the priests and directors of human rights organizations who were involved in the coup adventure” should be tried.

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

Redacción Confidencial

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