The Government of Nicaragua has cancelled the legal status of the Association of the Society of Jesuits of Nicaragua. The order, shared in the official gazette on Wednesday, it lays out in detail how the assets of the association will also be confiscated, and which will pass to the state coffers.
The regime of Daniel Ortega has accused the Jesuit order of breaking the law by not renewing its board of directors for four years, and for not reporting financial records for the fiscal periods of 2020, 2021 and 2022. According to the Government:
By not reporting its financial statements fiscal periods 2020, 2021 and 2022, and its Board of Directors, it hinders the control and surveillance of that Directorate, not promoting transparency policies in the administration and management of the Association, ignoring the activities they carry out, the execution of their projects and if they are in accordance with their objectives and purposes.
The provision was issued by the Minister of the Interior of the Republic, María Amelia Coronel Kinloch.
From the Society of Jesus they condemned "this new aggression against the Jesuits of Nicaragua." They also assured that it is another step in Ortega's march towards a totalitarian regime.
They also noted that the legal requirements for similar procedures were not met. They did not have the opportunity to defend themselves and there was no hearing before an impartial judge. Nothing new in Nicaragua: there has been three thousand cases of cancellation of legal status in unconventional circumstances since 2018, they said in the statement.
La Provincia Centroamericana de la Compañía de Jesús comunica que: Continúa la agresión injustificada contra los jesuitas en un contexto de total indefensión y de aterrorizamiento a la población nicaragüense. pic.twitter.com/vuMrI3oiYF
— Jesuitas CAM (@jesuitascam) August 23, 2023
After hearing the news, Republican Congresswoman, María Elvira Salazar, said she would work to add the Nicaraguan ruling party to the annual list of Entities of Particular Concern.
If his promise is kept, the secretary of state would label the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) as a non-state agent that "committed especially serious violations of religious freedom." It would share ranks with groups such as Boko Haram, Isis, the Taliban and the Wagner group.
Los sátrapas que se robaron Nicaragua cerraron la orden de los Jesuitas y expropiaron sus bienes. Sin dudas, Ortega y Murillo van de la mano de Satán.
Estoy trabajando para incluir al FSLN en la lista de entidades de especial preocupación por persecución religiosa. ¡Muy pronto!
— María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@MaElviraSalazar) August 23, 2023
The designation would be a more direct attack on the Ortega-Murillo regime, as the country is on last year's list of Countries of Particular Concern:
Burma, People's Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
One more blow to Catholicism
In mid-August, Ortega had dealt a first blow to the Pope's order by confiscating the Central American University (UCA). And this was not the first so far this year: the dictator banned processions, suspended institutional relations with the Vatican and froze the bank accounts of the Catholic Church after accusing it of money laundering.
He also arrested several religious such as Bishop Rolando Álvarez, three priests and two seminarians.