Nicaragua protesters flee to Catholic Church

PRAYER ALERT on Nicaragua protesters flee. Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega has outlawed protest as he seeks to erase any traces of the nationwide tax revolt that first broke out in April. Since then, his National Police and paramilitary forces have killed 300+ citizens and jailed 550+ protesters. They have beaten, robbed and arrested journalists who were covering the protests. After Ortega’s forces burned alive a family of six in their own home, some journalists fled the country. But many protesters are fleeing to the one safe haven they believe is left in Nicaragua—the Catholic Church.

PRAYER ALERT on Nicaragua protesters flee. Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega has outlawed protest as he seeks to erase any traces of the nationwide tax revolt that first broke out in April. Since then, his National Police and paramilitary forces have killed 300+ citizens and jailed 550+ protesters. They have beaten, robbed and arrested journalists who were covering the protests. After Ortega’s forces burned alive a family of six in their own home, some journalists fled the country. But many protesters are fleeing to the one safe haven they believe is left in Nicaragua—the Catholic Church.


The National Police of Nicaragua (photo by Tejeda).

The church has become the last space where citizens can freely express themselves, and demand their rights,”said lawyer Martha Molina. For example, recently at Managua’s Metropolitan Cathedral some congregants broke out chanting “Liberty!” and “Justice!” Outside, others planted wooden crosses. Each was inscribed with the name of someone killed during the protests. On the roof, demonstrators hoisted a giant Nicaraguan flag. The flag has become a symbol of the uprising. Consequently, the Nicaraguan government has outlawed such use of its own flag!


 Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Managua (photo: byralaal)

Death threats to the press and the church

It is coming close to outlawing the free press. So says Miguel Mora, director of the 100% Noticias news channel. Policemen recently detained him six times in one week. One told him, “You’re responsible for the death of police. If you keep f-ing around, we’re going to kill you and your whole family.” Now Mora says, “The logical next step – which I fully expect them to take – is to send their paramilitaries to close us down altogether.”

But they have not yet threatened to close down churches. In fact, at the beginning of the uprising, the government looked to the Catholic Church as a mediator with the protesters. Ortega himself had embraced the Catholic Church in his 2006 election campaign. Yet this past July Ortega called clerics “coup-mongers”. He accused them of stockpiling weapons. He labeled Managua’s most prominent bishop, Silvio Báez, as a “terrorist” and “fascist.” He told Báez to “leave Nicaragua.” Many priests have received death threats.

But they remain, and their churches remain open as refuges to protesters. In contrast, many of the evangelical churches have sided with Ortega. They have so compromised their witness that they seek to export his 40-year-old Sandinista revolution instead of the gospel. We must pray that the church will become God’s light in of these dark times, and not just a shelter for one side or the other.

Pray for God to:

1.   Bring President Ortega to a true understanding of the Christianity he once espoused.

2.   Cause Catholics and evangelicals to find unity in the essentials of the faith.

3.   Reveal divine solutions to the issues of taxation and benefits financing that the two sides are fighting over.

4.   Bring freedom to those who are unjustly imprisoned, and relief to those who are unjustly threatened.

5.   For Venezuela, to show their source of strength is not the Russian military, but the righteousness that exalts a nation from desperate straits.

DailyInsight. It’s more of an injustice when victims are expected to have perfectly nuanced & balanced responses to awful, atrocious injustice (see Num. 35:6-15).

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