Jesuits in Nicaragua – expelled


Jesuits in Nicaragua have been expelled from the country.

Nicaragua’s government declared Pope Francis’s Society of Jesus (Jesuit) order illegal on Wednesday.

All the Jesuits’ property and assets were confiscated. The government claims that’s because the Jesuits had failed to comply with tax laws.

On Wednesday, the San Salvador-based Jesuit Province of Central America which oversees the Jesuit order in Nicaragua decried the expulsion.

The Nicaraguan decree “cancelled the [Jesuits] legal status” and allowed the government to seize the Jesuits’ “immovable and movable property,” they announced.

The decision was made “without evidence that the administrative procedures established by law had been carried out.”

Nor did the decree allow “the opportunity for a legitimate defence on the part of the Jesuits and without an impartial body that judges and stops these totally unjustified and arbitrary abuses of authority.”

Crimes against humanity

The Jesuits say that the decree is a fresh act of “aggression” against the Society of Jesus.

It is “framed in a national context of systematic repression classified as ‘crimes against humanity’ by the group of experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua formed by the United Nations.

The government’s actions are aimed at “the full establishment of a totalitarian regime” the Jesuits say.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President, have failed to “at least being honest with these facts.”

The Jesuits say the president and vice president are responsible for impeding an independent and neutral judiciary, which would allow it “to take measures to stop, reverse and sanction” the unjust actions that have been taken.

Their statement calls on the couple to “cease the repression” and seek “a rational solution in which truth, dialogue, justice, respect for human rights and for the rule of law prevail.”

It also asks the Ortega government to respect the “freedom and total integrity” of the Jesuits and their collaborators.

Thousands of Nicaraguan victims are “waiting for justice and the repair of the damage that the current Nicaraguan government is causing,” the Jesuits say.

At least 26 universities have been closed and their assets seized by the government since December 2021. The most recent occurred two weeks ago.

Catholic tension

Tensions with the Catholic Church in the country have escalated.

Diplomatic relations with the Vatican were severed in April when Nicaragua ousted the Vatican’s envoy. The Holy See subsequently formally closed its embassy.

Last year, two orders of nuns were expelled.

In August 2022, Nicaraguan authorities arrested Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who was among the Church’s most outspoken critics of the Ortega regime.

He was charged with treason and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Nicaragua has also outlawed or closed over 3,000 civic groups and NGOs including the Red Cross.

Thousands of Nicaraguans have fled since the regime’s violent crackdown on the 2018 protests.

Defiant thanks

The Jesuits say they’re grateful for the many expressions of support and solidarity they have received “in the face of these growing outrages.”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,