More than 20 former Ibero-American heads of state and government expressed concern this Wednesday (17) with what they defined as “religious persecution triggered by the dictatorship” of Nicaragua, headed by dictator Daniel Ortega, and asked Pope Francis to act in defense of the people of the Central American country and their religious freedom.
In a statement, the former leaders of the so-called Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA) called on Pope Francis to take a “firm stand” against the “burning of churches and the savage destruction of images of Catholic worship” in Nicaragua, crimes that “imitate the Nazi persecutions and the burning of books in 1933”.
The objective, according to IDEA, is none other than “destroying the cultural and spiritual roots of the Nicaraguan people to in order to leave him in anomy” so that he becomes “easy prey” through the “destruction of his dignity and cultural roots”, as revealed by the recent closure of Academia Ni Languages (ANL).
In their declaration on the regime of Ortega and Rosario Murillo, the former heads of state and government denounce the current “aggravated persecution of religious freedom” after the recent “criminalization of political and social leaders” and the “radical restriction” of all freedom of expression and of the press.
“Now, (the Nicaraguan regime) is moving towards the persecution of Catholic episcopal leaders , priests and nuns”, including their expulsion from the national territory, as is the case of the emblematic Missionaries of Charity, said IDEA.
The declaration was signed by Óscar Arias, Laura Chinchilla, Luis Guillermo Solís and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (Costa Rica), José María Aznar (Spain), Vicente Fox, Rafael Ángel Calderón and Felipe Calderón (Mexico), Mireya Moscoso and Nicolás Ardito Barletta (Panama), Carlos Mesa and Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga (Bolivia), Alfredo Cristiani (El Salvador), Mauricio Macri (Argentina), Sebastián Piñera and Eduardo Frei (Chile), Luis Albert o Lacalle (Uruguay), Lucio Gutiérrez, Osvaldo Hurtado and Jamil Mahuad (Ecuador), Iván Duque, Andrés Pastrana and Álvaro Uribe (Colombia) and Juan Carlos Wasmosy and Federico Franco (Paraguay).