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Church in Central America urges leaders to work for justice and rule of law
ROSARIO, Argentina — As President Daniel Orega continues his crackdown on Nicaraguan freedoms, Catholic bishops continue to speak out, while in Costa Rica bishops call for unity in national elections.
Simon Bolivar, the 19th century independence leader known as The Liberator in Latin America, it was said that “an ignorant people is a blind instrument of its own destruction”.
Instead of taking this as a warning, Ortega puts the idea to good use. Continuing its crackdown on the opposition, it has closed 14 universities and NGOs, most of which have ties to the Catholic Church, or intellectuals who have criticized the regime.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Msgr. Silvio Baez, said Ortega intends to “reinforce irrational power, subjugate the people and deprive the youth of their future” by demanding the closure of private higher education centers and those linked to the ‘Catholic Church.
“Neglecting the quality of education, inhibiting critical thinking and taking over universities are ways to build irrational power, subjugate the people and rob them of their future,” he wrote on Twitter. after the cancellation of the legal status of universities last Thursday.
Although it particularly affects young people, the sources consulted by Node confirm that this is a new attack on the Catholic Church. Despite the regime’s attacks, the bishops are among the few opponents who can express themselves without being imprisoned.
The latest decision mainly affects the diocese of Esteli, historically among the most critical of the government. Projects that will be forced to close include an association of parochial schools, an agricultural institute, a Catholic cultural association, the diocesan justice and peace commission and the diocesan chapter of Caritas. The Universidad Católica Agropecuaria del Trópico Seco also lost its legal status.
The country’s interior ministry said in a report that targeted universities and nonprofits thwarted government surveillance attempts, failed to adequately disclose financial details and failed to identify their directors, according to the Nicaraguan daily. La Prensa.
Ten days ago, Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife and Vice President of Nicaragua, said the bishops “are retards,” who use the “twisted Word of God for their own benefit.”
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua issued a statement on February 4, in which it calls on Christians to “live the realities with faith and hope in God” amidst a gloomy and discouraging panorama due to the serious economic crisis and social problems that “afflict Nicaraguans”.
They also write that they trust that God will enlighten the minds and touch the hearts of all Nicaraguans, “especially the authorities who can have an impact on the solution of these problems”.
The Justice and Peace Commission also claimed that the positive figures published by the country’s financial entities do not correspond to reality, which includes “uncontrolled” inflation and a majority of families facing unemployment, lack of food and assistance. medical care, and social and legal insecurity.
“Although we read positive macroeconomic data, the family microeconomics of the majority of people do not perceive this reality, which leads to the increase in migration of fellow Nicaraguans,” the document reads.
During his Sunday homily, Baez, who now lives in Miami, said there are also failures in the struggle to build just and democratic societies. He said too high a price has been paid in human lives – in suffering, exile, poverty – and there comes a time “when everything may seem pointless to us”.
The “nothingness” of emptiness, which gnaws at the heart, and “the night”, which terrifies with its darkness, can “weaken the noblest social struggles”, he said. When the dark forces of ‘tyrannical powers’ seem to triumph, it is easy to succumb to the temptation to accept subjugation and feel ‘defeated’.
However, he warned, the worst thing that can happen to a people is to think that there is nothing more they can do: “If we trust in Jesus, something can always be done. Sooner or later, new horizons of freedom will open up to subjugated peoples.
The former president of Costa Rica, the centrist José María Figueres, and former World Bank official Rodrigo Chaves has made it to the presidential run-off, scheduled for April 3, according to preliminary official first-round election results on Sunday.
Figueres, 67, led a turbulent and unpopular government from 1994 to 1998 but now boasts that he paved the way for Costa Rica’s current tech industry by bringing in microprocessor giant Intel in 1997.
During his morning Mass on Sunday, the Archbishop of San José, José Rafael Quirós, centered his homily on the priority of the Gospel towards the poor, as well as the thousands of Costa Rican families who are perishing because of the pandemic.
“Without a doubt, the new governors must respond to the fiscal problem, but with social justice and solidarity,” said the Prelate, who highlighted the large income differences in the country.
Quirós asked the authorities to “fix their gaze on the poor and the needy”, on the farmers who today are “choked by their debts” and not to forget that “all capital has an enormous social debt”.
Among the faithful were three presidential candidates, including Figueres.