President Daniel Ortega has dealt the final blow to the Jesuits in Nicaragua, stripping the country’s Society of Jesus of its legal status and assets, according to a decree published by the country’s official newspaper, La Jacita.
Ortega – who has been in power for 14 years – often attacks the clergy in the Catholic Church, saying it is a “mafia” and an anti-democratic organization.
In recent years, many religious organizations have been closed down and their leaders imprisoned or exiled.
According to official information, the government claimed that it ordered the dissolution of the Jesuit order for not submitting financial statements for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Furthermore, the management stated that it did not renew the board of directors that expired on March 27, 2020.
This measure also means the transfer of the assets and property of the religious company to the state of Nicaragua, which will affect the Jesuit schools in the country.
The decision was announced just a week after Daniel Ortega’s government ordered the expropriation of the University of Central America (UCA), which had been run by the religious order for more than 60 years and will now be called the National University of Casemiro Sotelo Montenegro. .
In response, the Association of Universities entrusted to the Jesuit Society of Latin America (AUSJAL) issued a statement rejecting the view that UCA had been subjected to “slander and harassment”.
The condemnation of the events classified as crimes against humanity before the Panel of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua of the United Nations, [a universidade] Victim of multiple attacks since 2018.
“The de facto confiscation of UCA’s assets is in retaliation for the work this institution has done in search of a more just society, as well as its commitment to protecting the life, truth and freedom of the Nicaraguan people,” he says. .
On August 15, the Ortega government initiated criminal proceedings against the University of Central Asia for the political crime of “terrorism”.
Teachers and student leaders saw this measure as retaliation for the institution’s participation in the wave of demonstrations that broke out in April 2018.
At the time, protests were held in several cities in Nicaragua against the social security reforms enacted by Ortega. These actions were brutally suppressed and hundreds of people died.
“We have been notified of the confiscation of property, furniture and funds in national or foreign currency from bank accounts and financial products in national or foreign currency owned by UCA,” the university authorities denounced in a statement.
Four days later, an order was issued to confiscate the Villa del Carmen residence, where the nuns working at the University of Central Asia lived.
The police came to the residence to demand that the Jesuits vacate the property. Although the property did not belong to the university, the religious had to leave.
As condemned by the International Federation for Human Rights, UCA has been unjustifiably denied “certificates necessary to perform its mission in education, knowledge production and social relations, as was the case with 27 other higher education centers whose assets were confiscated.”
By being excluded from these bodies, UCA lost access to the public budget, which affected students who needed this budget to finance their studies.
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