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Biden Does Nothing as Nicaragua Continues Brutal Crackdown on Catholics

Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

Last Friday, police in Nicaragua conducted a pre-dawn raid on the home of Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa, a vocal critic of President Daniel Ortega, arresting him for “organizing violent groups” and inciting them “to carry out acts of hate against the population.” The move is just the latest in the Ortega regime’s increasingly brazen attacks on religious and opposition figures and drew sharp condemnation from the Pope and even the United Nations. Noticeably silent, however, was the ostensibly Catholic President Joe Biden, who continued his pattern of idleness when it comes to speaking up for persecuted Christians around the globe.

An avowed Marxist-Leninist, Ortega helped lead a revolution in 1979 that overthrew the ruling Somoza family, after which he served as President of Nicaragua until 1990. Ortega was elected president again in 2006 and immediately began restricting government transparency and freedom of the press, along with increasingly brutal crackdowns on opposition figures. He then won re-election by wide margins in 2011, 2016, and 2021 in contests widely dismissed as sham elections by the U.S. and other Western nations.

Ortega, a militant anti-Catholic, has made the persecution of church leaders a cornerstone of his effort to consolidate control over the country. Since 2018, Nicaraguan Catholics have documented 190 attacks by the government against churches and church leaders, nearly half of all acts of aggression registered in that period. The catalog of persecutions by Ortega’s regime includes closing the remnants of religious media and publishers, desecrating holy places, fire-bombing churches, banning religious pilgrimages, and imprisoning priests and bishops. Ortega has often been personally involved in these persecutions, calling bishops “terrorists” and “devils in cassocks.”

According to one shocking report, 59-year-old priest Mario Guevara was burned with sulfuric acid while he was hearing confession. The perpetrator was arrested but avoided prison time after the regime sponsored her escape flight to Italy. On another occasion, a hooded criminal threw a Molotov cocktail into the Cathedral of Managua, causing extensive damage. Afterward, the regime blamed burning candles for the fire – but the bishop there explained that no candles were allowed in the church due to the historic paintings present.

But Ortega’s number one enemy appears to be the young Bishop Alvarez. who frequently states that he owes his religious calling to Saint John Paul II. Like the Polish Pope who aided in the destruction of the godless Soviet Empire, Bishop Alvarez frequently emphasizes that it is God, not the government, who is the source of unalienable rights, including the right to life. Therefore, no government has the right to repudiate these rights. And like John Paul II, this Nicaraguan Bishop teaches that the opposition must be devoted to living a conscientious spiritual life and not limit itself to protest alone.

The regime attacked Alvarez last week after he criticized Ortega’s socialist, atheistic culture of death by quoting John Paul II, who urged Americans in Newark in 1995 that without the virtues of self-discipline, diligent contemplation of the truth, simplicity of life, and joyful dedication to others, they would not have the inner strength to combat the culture of death which threatens the modern world.

Alvarez was arrested at his home when he tried to join believers in the Cathedral in the adoration of the Holy Eucharist. The police blocked exits, and plain-clothed officers beat him. In response, he knelt on the sidewalk and said a blessing recorded via video. The Bishop reiterated that if the resistance against a godless regime is rooted in prayer, it will bring the fruit of peace.

Earlier on the radio, the Bishop had again quoted John Paul II that the development of society does not imply de-Christianization, but in every human work, prayer sets up a reference to God the Creator. Following the example of John Paul II, the Bishop also called upon the opposition to pray the rosary “that unites us in the battle which is, first of all, spiritual and moral”.

In his focus on a prayerful life that unites, the brave Nicaraguan Bishop Alvarez echoes the call of another Catholic Bishop from the previous century who faced the same challenges. The unsung Cold War hero and Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Aron Jean-Marie Lustiger, explained that the fraternal bond between believers strengthens when every person wins their fight for good over evil. 

In 1980, Cardinal Lustiger said that our civilization needed to re-shape its moral conscience so that it could effectively defeat evil.

Born in Poland, in the family of Ashkenazi Jews, Cardinal Lustiger, who lost his mother in the death camp of Auschwitz, like John Paul II, understood that Nazism and Marxism heightened the price of the choice between good and evil, much more than in a free society.

But after the fall of Iron Curtain, facing the emergence of a death culture in his beloved France, Cardinal Lustiger referred to faithful fighters against militant Marxism as martyrs. Who is the martyr? It is the Christian who puts all his effort to rebuild that moral conscience.

That category includes all Americans in the pro-life movement as well as Supreme Court Justices who dared to undermine the foundation of militant atheism. It includes Bishop Alvarez, faithful clergy and Catholics in Nicaragua, and every person who defends the right for Christians to witness their love of God in the public sphere.

Cardinal Lustiger, a friend of the unforgettable John Paul II, a pope who also inspired Nicaraguan Catholics, once remarked that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini used to say that the leader is always right. But the truth is, responded Lustiger, it is the martyr who is always right.

Bishop Alvarez poses a particularly potent threat to the regime given his status as a Catholic leader. Manuel Orozco, an expert on Nicaragua, told PBS News that “70% of Nicaraguans say that to them, the political opinion of the religious authority at the national or the parochial level was important in shaping their political views.” Orozco also pointed out that the regime likely took the step of arresting Alvarez now because it doesn’t fear retribution from the international community – namely the United States.

Thus far, they have been proven correct in that bet. Though Pope Francis said he is following the situation in Nicaragua with “worry and pain,” he failed to mention Alvarez or any of the priests arrested with him by name. This comes on the heels of growing criticism from Catholic leaders in Latin America after the Vatican remained silent on the shuttering of Catholic news outlets and the announcement of an investigation into Alvarez by the Ortega government more than two weeks ago.

But by far the most consequential silence has been from Washington, D.C., and President Joe Biden. As a candidate in 2020, Biden often invoked his Catholic faith and the need to defend religious liberty and democracy around the world. Though Biden made a public show of banning Nicaraguan officials from entering the United States in November of last year, it was later revealed that he secretly sent a State Department official to meet with Ortega earlier this year, only to be rebuffed by the regime.

While Alvarez is just one of many religious leaders who have faced persecution in recent years, his case exemplifies a disturbing trend of ascendant left-wing governments attempting to strengthen their grip over their populations by stamping out religious belief. For the sake not just of preserving religious liberty, but of preserving democracy itself, political leaders in nations like the United States have a responsibility to call out such blatant violations of human rights and take action to stop them.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Boz
Boz
1 year ago

Veggie Joe is on his sixth vacation….THIS MONTH! He can’t be bothered with the little things.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Well the Nicaraguan government is communist and the leader of the country makes no bones about stating he is an avowed Marxist and proud of it. So what do you expect? Communists consider all organized religions, not just Catholicism, a direct challenge to their authority of an all-powerful government. To top it all off, the Bishop has been a vocal critic of the communists running the country for quite some time, so he essentially has a target painted on his back at this point. Is anyone really surprised that a communist regime would move in such an open and obvious manner against its critics? Communist regimes all around the world have been doing this for over a hundred years at this point. They all behave the exact same way.

Would it be nice if our State Department at least issued one of their vague, half-hearted condemnations for the public record? Sure, but that would change nothing in terms of what Nicaragua does or any other communist nation on the planet does. Especially coming from this weak and pathetic administration trying its hardest to be just like the authoritarian dictators it meekly protests every once in a while.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

Joe is still out to lunch, but where’s his eminence the Pope or the rest of the world’s concern?Change the dates or names and you have that age old story you may have already read about. All dictators seem to have a fond distaste for followers of Christ or political critics.

Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith
1 year ago

I have lived in Nicaragua and left in 2020. I see many similarities between Ortega and Biden. It is as if Biden is following the same strategy as Ortega did in 2018. So I don’t expect Biden to do anything.

CoNMTX
CoNMTX
1 year ago

Who would possibly expect Biden to do anything to help or save Christians of any denomination? Biden is a CINO. A Catholic in name only. The same as the other socialist nut case, Pelosi. He claims to be Catholic to possibly fool some Christian voters. It has, however, become increasingly clear that he is totally controlled by Satan along with the rest of his globalist cohorts. None of these evil Satanists could be any kind of Christian and still have such rabid support for abortion and the agenda of the LGBT.

Douglas Wallace
Douglas Wallace
1 year ago

Has the Vatican also succumbed to the corruption? Odd

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

I’m not surprised that the Pope is so quiet. He’s a Communist by political belief which honestly makes him probably the worst Pope of modern times. Biden is on a 3 week vacation. On top of all the other time off he’s taken. Can you imagine if Trump or even Bush took this much time off! It would be front page headlines.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
1 year ago

Not only is Biden silent about the atrocities committed against Catholics in Nicaragua, he is also silent about the violence committed against pro-lifers in the USA. Why would we expect Biden to say anything of courage and ethical value — when his entire political career is full of only doing what he thinks will help him politically? Presently, Biden exists to satisfy the Marxists and Communists — his concerns with what is actually right and wrong are actually invisible to his mind and conscience.

Maxine Olson
Maxine Olson
1 year ago

Any difference between the predawn raid on the Bishop in Nicaragua and the raid on President Trump’s house, Mar-A-Lago, in Florida? Both the Bishop and Trump are opponents of the party in power. Seems kind of dejas-vous all over again to me.

J. Farley
J. Farley
1 year ago

Daniel Ortega, is a whole lot like Lying, Hiding, Joe Biden, Silence, their Critics, SHUT THEM THE HE*L UP, all Dictators and Dictator want-a-bees are Godless Weasels.

Spitfire?1940
Spitfire?1940
1 year ago

I well remember when Peter Paul and Mary hosted and adoring escorted Ortega around NY City some years ago.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Ortega’s “excuse” sounds almost identical to Senile Joe’s. I imagine that Joey was one of the DIMMs trying to keep Reagan from getting rid of Ortega in the ’80s. DIMMs love communists!

Weary
Weary
1 year ago

Thank You AMAC for this News~~ Had no idea this was happening

Bill T
Bill T
1 year ago

During the 2020 presidential campaign BIDEN was always talking about what a devout Catholic he was, well he’s anything but a true believer in our religion. Goes and attacks our decision to reverse abortion and tries to use this for his political gain. Our foreign parishioners who are devout Catholics are being persecuted by Marxist communist regimes and our pope and our so called Catholic president do absolutely nothing to stop or even mention these crimes against such brave and wonderful human beings? Biden is once again a total hypocrite. He needs to exit ASAP, along with his entire twisted and destructive administration.

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Biden isn’t a fan of the Catholic church right now and even if he understood what is happening in Nicaragua he doesn’t have the backbone to challenge anyone. He certainly has NEVER applauded people that serve God. He seems to be more concerned with his next ice cream break and taking his meds on time.

GloriaH
GloriaH
1 year ago

If the pope is doing anything (which is his job), we are not hearing about it either.

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