NICARAGUA NEWS – The bishops of Nicaragua last month met with President Daniel Ortega in the apostolic nunciature and presented him with a 14-page list of concerns, the Fides news service reported.
In their 46-paragraph document, the bishops emphasized concerns about the family, including the right to life of the unborn, marriage as the union of a man and a woman, violence against women, government interference in family life, rural clinics that promote sterilization and abortifacients.
The bishops also said that education should be free from indoctrination, lamented limits placed on the Church’s evangelizing mission, and called for respect for human rights and civil liberties, including freedom of the press.
Fides reports that Ortega has not yet responded to the questions posed in the May 21 meeting. When asked about the fruits of the dialogue between the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) and the Sandinista leader, Exc. Mgr. Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara, S.D.B., Bishop of Esteli (Nicaragua) said: “On the fundamental issue that affects the country, there has been no response yet”.
The note sent to Fides by a local source, reports that for Mgr. Mata Guevara, of the six points presented by CEN to President Ortega on May 21, there are two which are considered the most important: “the appeal to national dialogue and the guarantee of transparent national elections”. “We think he is reflecting and we hope for the best”, said Mgr. Mata.
The Bishops of Nicaragua have been united and critical with Ortega ever since he took office, on January 10, 2007, particularly on the issue of the presidential election, that they openly reject. For this reason, the relationship between the government of President Ortega and the Catholic Church of Nicaragua is good but very distant.
Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. Ortega won the presidential elections of 2006 and 2011, and a bishop has expressed concern that he has begun a “devious persecution” of Church.