NewsLatin America"Let them be free, I pay their sentence": Bishop Rolando Alvarez refuses to board the plane of exile

“Let them be free, I pay their sentence”: Bishop Rolando Alvarez refuses to board the plane of exile

Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa.MAYNOR VALENZUELA (REUTERS)

In the list of 222 political prisoners who were exiled by the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo on the morning of this February 9, the name of the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Alvarez, does not appear, who faces a political trial for the alleged crimes of “conspiracy and propagation of false news. According to sources from the Catholic Church, the police took him out of the building where he was serving house arrest and was transferred to the feared El Chipote prison, after refusing to board the plane that took the prisoners to Washington.

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“Let them be free, I pay their sentence,” Bishop Alvarez said, according to Catholic sources. his family has not seen the prelate since he was taken from the house. Last Tuesday it was learned that the Sandinista judge, Nadia Camila Tardencilla Rodriguez, brought forward the political trial of the Catholic leader for this February 15, since it was scheduled for March 28. Religious sources have agreed that this case has been at an impasse for two fundamental reasons: the first is that the Ortega-Murillos had offered the bishop “exile or jail”, but he flatly refused to “leave his homeland”. A decision that the bishop maintained this Thursday with the banishment of political prisoners.

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Bishop Alvarez, the most critical voice of Catholicism in the face of human rights violations in Nicaragua, was arrested in August 2022 along with six religious and a layman when a police storm broke into the Matagalpa rectory at dawn. In his popular homilies he criticized the Sandinista excesses. The priest has been characterized by a firm and determined character, to the point that before his arrest he knelt before an armed police line that surrounded him in Matagalpa.

According to judicial sources consulted by EL PAIS, the Prosecutor’s Office “manufactures the evidence” against Bishop Alvarez based on his critical homilies that were spread on social networks, in order to “destabilize” the Government. That is to say, they profile the bishop as “a great conspirator.”

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Meanwhile, after the arrival of the exile plane in the US capital, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that “the liberation opens the door to dialogue with Managua.” The Joe Biden Administration official added that “today’s events are the product of US diplomacy,” and that his country will continue to support the Nicaraguan people.


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