Last February, the dictator Daniel Ortega expelled 200 “opponents” of the regime from the Nicaraguan country. Some of them Christians. The human rights organization Nicaragua Nunca Más described the expulsion as an “unprecedented exile” and advocated that the exiles can return to their country free and without the threat of persecution. According to sources in the country, in the recent history of Latin America there is no precedent for exile of such a large magnitude, and even multiple nations of the continent prohibit in their constitutions the penalty of exile, pointing it out as a violation of human rights.
This news reveals the worrying situation of Nicaraguan Christians, since many of the leaders and opponents were leaders who confess themselves to be Christians and are widely recognized. Similarly, in recent years, Nicaraguan Christians, of various denominations, have faced increasing harassment and persecution. The Ortega regime, who has presided over the country since 2007, does not tolerate any opposition or criticism of his mandate or of the actions carried out by the government, especially if they come from Christian leaders.
Among those expelled from the country, is Rolando Álvarez Lagos accused of 26 years and 4 months in prison, for being a “traitor to the homeland.” In the group of 222 deportees are the priests Oscar Benavidez Dávila (50); Ramiro Reynaldo (50); Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios Cano (35); and José Luis Díaz Cruz (33). On February 4, Fr. Benavidez was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the others had been sentenced, on February 6, to 10 years in prison and an 800-day fine, accused of conspiracy and propagation of false news. All of them have been arrested for freely expressing their faith and evangelization.
In the case of Álvarez: “Mons. Álvarez is arrested for celebrating Mass, for exposing the Blessed Sacrament in the streets and for praying the Rosary and transmitting it on social networks.” “Apart from that, the bishop did nothing more, much less the crazy things that the judicial system is inventing,” said Nicaraguan lawyer and investigator Martha Patricia Molina Montenegro. In total, there are already nine Nicaraguan priests that the dictatorship has accused for the crime of alleged “conspiracy”, including Bishop Álvarez.