President Daniel Ortega disqualified on Thursday the role of the bishops of the Episcopal Conference (CEN) as mediators and witnesses in the national dialogue and described them as partial, to be in favor of a coup d’etat and to lend the “Catholics temples” to store weapons, but did not say whether the Government will withdraw from the talks table.
Ortega said during his speech in celebration of the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, which accepted a national dialogue because “we wanted to know what was the strategy (…) and ended up saying they (Ortega and Murillo) have to leave already”.
He said that it hurt him to have to say that “the bishops were committed to the coup plotters.”
“Our opponents charged with hatred said logically, more to my surprise, maybe I was not surprised, when the bishops read me the letter in the House of Peoples and gave me a period of two days (to answer). The president must be removed and the elections advanced. I thought they were mediators but were committed to the coup plotters, they were part of the plan with the coup plotters, it hurts me to say this, I have an appreciation for them, I am Catholic,” Ortega said.
In the midst of a festive atmosphere in Managua, the elderly, adults, youth and children dressed in Sandinista symbols joined in a single voice in defense of Ortega, celebrating the 39th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, at a time when a large majority of Nicaraguans demand his resignation for his leadership of the Government, which led to the revolts that began on April 18.
On June 7, the bishops presented President Ortega with a letter requesting “unconditional respect for the Political Constitution and international obligations, democratic values and respect for human rights,” as stated in the national dialogue.
They also presented Ortega a program for the implementation of the agreements, “to restore peace and stability to Nicaragua, and allow Nicaraguans the ability to participate in decisions that affect their future in freedom and equality of conditions” , which requires a political agreement to advance elections at all levels to Sunday, March 31, 2019. ”
Ortega said he responded to the bishops: “If you want to raise all this in the dialogue, propose it; there must be consensus, the two parties agree. I saw the letter, I was amazed, it hurt me that the bishops had that coup attitude, right there they disqualified themselves as mediators, because their message was the overthrow”.
“One of the bishops told us that the Sandinista Front was finished, that it had no people, that it was done, we are not going to disrespect the bishops. We asked them to rectify and not bring the uprising to these satanic coups, murderous sects,” he added.
On the first Sunday of July, Pope Francis supported the efforts of the bishops and “many people of good will” who mediated the crisis in Nicaragua and testify to the process of national dialogue “by way of democracy”.
“Renewing my prayer for the beloved people of Nicaragua, I wish to join the efforts being made by the bishops of the country and many people of goodwill in their role as mediators and witnesses in the process of ongoing national dialogue, through the democracy,” said Pope Francis.
The president indicated that through the dialogue “what was most reached was a three-day truce agreement.”
At no time did Ortega mention the proposal to advance elections, initially proposed in the dialogue and later supported by the Organization of American States (OAS).
He affirmed that “with financing from US agencies, they began to work through the networks with greater force to provoke a clash and destroy the peace.”
In his speech, Ortega commented that the Church speaks of a day of exorcism in the country starting this Friday, but the “bishops must exorcise the demons they have at their side”, referring to the “coup” of the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.
In a pastoral message of July 14, the bishops criticized “the lack of political will of the Ortega’s Government to dialogue sincerely and seek real processes that will lead the country towards a true democracy,” noting the failure to comply with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), especially related to the “urgent dismantling of the pro-government armed elements”.
The national dialogue has been paralyzed since July 9, when the bishops were attacked in Diriamba by armed mobs and armed civilians attached to the government.