Nicaragua – bishops denounce death threats against one of their own
The Nicaraguan bishops’ conference has denounced death threats against an outspoken bishop, whose comments on corruption and support for students in the protests consuming the country have been poorly received by those in power.
In a statement dated 22nd May, the conference said priests and bishops were the objects of ‘discredit and death threats…particularly our brother Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez of Managua, via journalists and official media outlets and anonymous accounts on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.’
The statement, signed by Bishop Juan Mata Guevara of Esteli, conference secretary-general, continued: ‘In spite of the threats, we remind the aggressors we are a collegial body, and if a bishop or priest is attacked, the Church is attacked. In this decisive hour, we will not give up accompanying all of the Nicaraguan people, who under the blue and white of our flag, have taken to the streets to demand their rights.’
Protests erupted in Nicaragua after the government of President Daniel Ortega announced an increase in fees for the country’s social security system, which critics say was poorly run and rife with corruption. A heavy-handed response kept the protests going and swelled its ranks, especially with students and campesinos, some of whom had grievances over possibly being displaced by the construction of an inter-oceanic canal.
The bishops’ conference in Nicaragua has convened a national dialogue, which includes students, campesinos, business leaders and the Ortega government.
Picture: Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Baez Ortega of Managua, Nicaragua, is seen in this 2013 file photo. The Nicaraguan bishops’ conference has denounced recent death threats against the outspoken bishop. (CNS photo/Oswaldo Rivas, Reuters).