Nicaragua VP [wife of El Presidente/Commandante/Camarada Ortega] says God favors repression against priests, people

Nicaragua VP [wife of El Presidente/Commandante/Camarada Ortega] says God favors repression against priests, people

Nicaragua has launched a crackdown on the Catholic Church in the country which is trying to broker peace between government forces and protesters.

[AQ Tom: Background from Catholic World News with link to an earlier Crux article]

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes of Managua decried the incident and called on police “to suspend this action of harassment, so that the faithful can return to their homes.”

Inés San Martín – Jul 5, 2018

ROME – As the government of Nicaragua struggles to maintain control amid a spiraling cycle of protests over its economic policies and human rights record, it’s launched a new crackdown on the Catholic Church, stopping a group of priests who were trying to broker a dialogue between pro- and anti-government forces.

Nicaragua’s Vice President, the wife of President Daniel Ortega, described the action as “God’s work.”

On Monday, a coalition of Nicaragua’s military, paramilitary, police forces and militants favorable to the Ortega government were ordered to force the closure of a barricade on the highway leading to the city of La Trinidad, some 60 miles north of the capital, Managua, erected by protesters.

At least one person was killed in the clashes – though some reports speak of four. Groups such as the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) currently in the country have investigated more than 220 deaths in the past 75 days of protests.

On Monday, at the end of the first week of the IACHR mission, Commissioner Antonia Urrejola, Rapporteur for Nicaragua, warned that “it is urgent and essential to end repression and arbitrary detentions, as well as the new forms of violations that are being identified.”

She also reminded the Nicaraguan government of the importance of complying with a recommendation to protect the personal integrity and safety of all demonstrators, and of all people exercising their rights and public liberties.

Rosario Murillo, the Vice President, said that repression against civilians that led to the elimination of the blockade on the highway was a “work of the faith in God.”

“Having managed this morning to recover mobility [and] security, on the (highway)” Murillo said, allowing for traffic to move freely, was a “miraculous event, the work of faith in God.”

According to Spanish news agency EFE, however, paramilitary forces didn’t stop with the barricade but went directly into the neighborhoods, which was evidenced also in social media, with pictures showing armed men going after other small barricades set up by civilians in an attempt to prevent them from entering their neighborhoods.

The Catholic Church, currently trying to support a dialogue process between the government and the opposition, protested the repression.

When a group of priests from neighboring parishes tried to reach the highway blockage and dialogue with those answering Ortega’s command, they were intercepted by “five hooded men,” according to Father Eugenio Rodríguez, who was one of the priests and who later spoke with AFP.

“We tried to come close to dialogue and prevent a clash between protesters and the police, but when we arrived, the paramilitary stopped us,” he said.

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