VATICAN CITY — The Vatican stated Saturday it had closed its embassy in Nicaragua after the nation’s authorities proposed suspending diplomatic relations, the most recent episode in a yearslong crackdown on the Catholic Church by the administration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
The Vatican’s consultant to Managua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, additionally left the nation Friday, sure for Costa Rica, a Vatican official stated, talking on situation of anonymity.
The Vatican motion got here every week after the Nicaraguan authorities proposed suspending relations with the Holy See, and a yr after Nicaragua pressured the papal ambassador on the time to go away. It isn’t clear what extra the proposed suspension would entail in diplomatic phrases.
Relations between the church and Ortega’s authorities have been deteriorating since 2018, when Nicaraguan authorities violently repressed anti-government protests.
Some Catholic leaders gave protesters shelter of their church buildings, and the church later tried to behave as a mediator between the federal government and the political opposition.
Ortega branded Catholic figures he noticed as sympathetic to the opposition as “terrorists” who had backed efforts to overthrow him. Dozens of spiritual figures had been arrested or fled the nation.
Two congregations of nuns, together with from the Missionaries of Charity order based by Mom Teresa, had been expelled from Nicaragua final yr.
Outstanding Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez was sentenced to 26 years in jail final month after he refused to board an airplane that flew 222 dissidents and clergymen to exile in the US. He additionally was stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship.
Pope Francis had remained largely silent on the difficulty, apparently not eager to inflame tensions. However in a March 10 interview with Argentine media outlet Infobae, after Alvarez’s sentencing, he known as Ortega’s authorities a “impolite dictatorship” akin to Hitler’s that was led by an “unbalanced” president.
Based on Vatican Information, the care of the Vatican’s embassy, or nunciature, was entrusted to the Italian authorities, in line with diplomatic conventions. The report stated diplomats of the European Union, Germany, France and Italy gave Diouf, the chargé d’affaires, a farewell salute earlier than he shuttered the diplomatic publish and left.
In the course of the farewell ceremony, Germany’s ambassador to Nicaragua, Christoph Bundscherer, expressed remorse on the embassy’s closure and requested Diouf to share a message with Pope Francis, in line with a press release on the German Embassy’s Fb web page.
“Along with the Catholic Church, the representatives of the European Union in Nicaragua can even all the time defend the Christian values of freedom, tolerance and human dignity,” Bundscherer stated, in line with the assertion.
The Nicaraguan authorities, which since September 2018 has banned all opposition demonstrations within the nation, additionally restricted Catholic actions inside church buildings, together with banning the normal avenue processions that 1000’s of Nicaraguans used to have fun within the lead as much as Holy Week and Easter.
The restrictions pressured church authorities to carry the Stations of the Cross procession on the grounds of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua, as they did Friday.
Selser reported from Mexico Metropolis.