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Nicaraguan Jesuits protest Ortega’s ‘totalitarian’ confiscation of university

The Central American Province of the Jesuit Order issued a formal reprimand to the government of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega following the confiscation this week of the Central American University (UCA) in Managua.

In a public statement titled “In defense of truth, justice, freedom and the right to education and in support of the UCA of Nicaragua”, the Jesuits deny accusations that the UCA has become a “center of terrorism”, calling the accusation “totally false and baseless.

Accused by the government of having “betrayed the confidence of the Nicaraguan people” and of having “transgressed the constitutional and legal order”, the Jesuits reply that such trumped up accusations are only a cover to justify a ” drastic, unexpected and unfair measure”. .”

“This is a government policy that systematically violates human rights and appears to be aimed at consolidating a totalitarian state,” they say.

“It is necessary and essential that our university be allowed to exercise its inalienable right of self-defence against the said charges,” they add.

File/Nicaraguan Catholic Bishop Rolando Alvarez speaks to the press at the Santo Cristo de Esquipulas church in Managua, May 20, 2022. Alvarez, a vocal critic of Daniel Ortega’s government, began a hunger strike on Thursday to protest against what he sees as a persecution and police siege against him. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The prestigious teaching and research work carried out by the University during its 63 years of existence “has been recognized nationally and internationally”, the statement reads, and “has been carried out in accordance with the tradition education of the Society of Jesus and the directives of the Catholic Church.

The text also insists that this “aggression by the new government” against the university is not an isolated event but rather part of a series of unjustified attacks against the Nicaraguan population and other educational and social institutions. .

The UCA has been “subject to constant siege, harassment and hostility by Nicaraguan government institutions” since April 2018, the Jesuits say, because of its stance in defense of the lives of victims. people who were repressed by the police and paratroopers. armed forces.

Nicaraguan Jesuits protest Ortega's 'totalitarian' confiscation of university

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi (L) is welcomed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R) during an official ceremony at the Olof Palme Convention Center in Managua, Nicaragua on June 14, 2023. (Iranian Presidency/Handout/ Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

We hold the government of Nicaragua “responsible for all damages caused to students, teaching and administrative staff and other workers of the university”, indicates the text, which “arises from such an unjustified accusation and from the order of confiscate all property and real estate and the economic heritage of the university.

The document concludes with three demands from the Nicaraguan government, namely, the immediate reversal of the confiscation, an end to the government’s growing aggression against the university and its members, and a reasonable solution in which truth, justice , dialogue and the defense of academic freedom prevail.

“God is the one who has the last word on history and will also have it on Nicaragua,” he concludes.


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