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Nicaraguan Priest Flees Country after Church Onslaught

Nicaraguan priest flees the country after church onslaught: "It hurts me to breathe in the façade country"

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NICARAGUAN Father Uriel Vallejos reported this Sunday that he left Nicaragua a month after police officers forced their way into the parish he directed and where he was held, in order of seizing the equipment of a radio station closed by the authorities.

“Goodbye my Nicaragua! It hurts me to breathe in the façade country”, wrote Vallejos, parish priest of the Divina Misericordia church, in the Nicaraguan municipality of Sébaco (north), in a message from the United States, where he arrived after leaving through “blind spots” from Nicaragua.

On Twitter, the presbyter shared a message saying goodbye to Nicaragua with a “See you soon my beautiful country of lakes and volcanoes”, and also asked not to leave Bishop Rolando Álvarez alone, arrested since last August 19, by the government headed by Sandinista Daniel Ortega, allegedly for being subversive, although no evidence has been offered.

“I hope with hope that we will not leave alone Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, our bishop who has sacrificed himself for our country”, urged the religious.

Vallejos made a call to the “unit” no longer negotiable with the authorities, because “people are not negotiable, because they are not things.”

“We await the prompt release of my bishop, priests, seminarians and seculars. It is time to show which side we are on, the side of truth or of comfort,” he pointed out.

Likewise, he also asked Catholics not to settle “to silence, survival and negotiations” because, he insisted, “freedom and life should not be negotiated.”

“Blessings to all until we return to the land of liberation, long live free Nicaragua!” he concluded.

At the beginning of August, Vallejos and his collaborators were locked in the grounds of the temple, located 101 kilometers north of Managua, when a group of police officers entered by force at night to seized the equipment of a radio station closed by the authorities.

The Sandinista regime, through the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post Office (Telcor), has ordered in the last month the closure of 9 Catholic radio stations belonging to the diocese of Matagalpa (north), led by Bishop Álvarez, one of the strongest critics of the tyrant Ortega.

The arrest of Bishop Álvarez, and 7 other priests, is the most recent chapter in a particularly convulsive last year for the Catholic Church of Nicaragua under the Ortega dictatorship.

This year, the Sandinista regime expelled from the country the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag and 18 nuns from the Missionaries of Charity order, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

It has also imprisoned 7 priests, shut down 9 Catholic radio stations and pulled 3 Catholic channels from subscription television programming, in face of a strange silence on the part of Pope Francis, who has not made a direct pronouncement on the situation so far.

The police have also entered by force and raided a parish, prevented parishioners from receiving the Eucharist inside the temple and besieged other priests in their churches, among others.

The Catholic community represents 58.5% of the 6.6 million inhabitants of Nicaragua, according to the latest national census.

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