Animosity toward Christianity is nothing new, and in the past few decades violent assaults have grown around the world. In certain areas, the vandalizing of churches and other religious monuments is the least of it. A recent disturbing incident in Nicaragua shows complete disregard for the sanctity of holy places. The country’s authoritarian government tyrannizes its citizens and especially opposition groups. When several mothers staged a hunger strike to protest the treatment of their children and other family members being held as political prisoners, violence broke out, and a priest and nun were attacked by the pro-government Sandinistas.
In Nicaragua, churches are the only safe haven where citizens can hold protests. However, the government and its supporters do not take kindly to what they consider attempts to overthrow the regime. On Nov. 18, the Sandinistas stormed the cathedral in Managua, where mothers were holding the hunger strike. In the video below, the throng can be seen storming the church and attacking the vicar and a nun who tried to keep the mob from entering the sanctuary.
+++VIDEOS DONDE GRUPOS VIOLENTOS SANDINISTAS GOLPEAN AL PADRE RODOLFO Y SOR ARELYS EN CATEDRAL DE MANAGUA+++
Posted by Arquidiócesis de Managua on Monday, November 18, 2019
A Little History
The Sandinistas have been in and out of power – mostly in – for decades. They gained strength using such fear tactics as kidnapping and murder and ended up seizing control of the government in the 1990s. They form the second largest party in Nicaragua and have been in charge of the government since 2006.
In April 2018, protesters called for the resignation of President Daniel Ortega, a ringleader of the Sandinista junta that took over the country in 1979. He accused churches of storing weapons and even bombs, supposedly to be used to defy his government. When protesters were driven from neighborhoods and college campuses, the clergy provided sanctuary in the churches. Pro-government mobs attacked, and more than 300 people were killed – mostly protesters.
The Nicaraguan government, on the defensive, claimed the activists were part of a “coup attempt” and accused the U.S. government of financing the movement. This sparked a drastic measure outlawing protests, which Ortega described as signs of a government coup.
As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides explained in a piece for Investment Watch:
“The Sandinistas systematically violated the human rights of Nicaraguan Jews, displaced and exiled more than a fifth of the population (the people that opposed their regime), murdered opponents literally by the thousands and ‘There are restrictions on free movement; torture; denial of due process; lack of freedom of thought, conscience and religion; denial of the right of association and free labor unions.’”
The seven-woman hunger strike that prompted the recent violence was an extension of a similar strike that began four days earlier at the San Miguel Arcangel Church in Masay, a city not far from Managua. On Nov. 14, police and military units surrounded the church and arrested 13 activists who had been trying to take water to the mothers of political prisoners participating in the hunger strike. The officers cut off electricity and water services and prohibited anyone from leaving or entering the premises.
The Archdiocese of Managua sent a statement about the violence that occurred during the second hunger strike:
“This afternoon violent government-sponsored groups entered and took control of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Managua. Confronted by Father Rodolfo Lopez and Sister Arelys Guzman, these people responded with violence by beating the priest and the sister, who are all right but had to leave the church to seek shelter.
“Also, tonight members of this same group broke the locks of the bell tower and other padlocks of the church, desecrating our Metropolitan Cathedral. We condemn these acts of desecration, siege, and intimidation that do not favor the peace and stability of the country.”
The archdiocese has requested that President Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, who serves as vice president, to reinstate respect for Catholic churches, demanding that the national police “withdraw their troops who raid and intimidate the cathedral and our parishes.”
The protesters demand that approximately 150 political prisoners be released. During a news conference, the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), the opposition coalition, asked others to get involved by joining in additional hunger strikes around the country until the prisoners are set free.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.