Nicaragua Bishop Receives Death Threat

After Murder of a Priest, Assault of Others

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MATAGALPA, Nicaragua, OCT. 14, 2011 ( The bishop of Matagalpa reported a telephone death threat that he received Monday, and said that the country does not have an «atmosphere of peace» leading up to next month’s elections.

Bishop Rolando Álvarez Lagos said that two other priests in Nicaragua have received death threats. The caller to the bishop’s house spoke with a relative, saying that if the prelate wouldn’t be silent, he would be silenced. 

During a press conference, the prelate said he considers these actions «a threat to my physical integrity and, of course, to my life.»

He added that the threats are due to «the prophetic mission that, as bishops of the episcopal conference, and in this particular case as bishop of Matagalpa, we are carrying out, illumining the consciences of our people with the light of the Gospel.»

Police detained one suspect on Saturday regarding the threats to the priests, but he was released.

Last Friday the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference published a pastoral letter exhorting citizens to vote for a candidate who «respects the Constitution,» and has a clean history.

President Daniel Ortega hopes to be re-elected Nov. 6, despite the fact that there is a constitutional norm that prohibits immediate re-election. The norm was declared inapplicable by the magistrates of the Supreme Court, who are favorable to Ortega’s administration.

René Sándigo, secretary-general of the episcopal conference, said on Friday that the bishops «run the risk» of being misinterpreted, criticized, and even repressed «in an open or concealed way by those who feel themselves questioned.»

Bishop Álvarez also lamented that «the atmosphere does not exist to submit a formal complaint to the police of Nicaragua»; the threatened priests also declined to take this step.

Some 3.4 million Nicaraguans will be eligible to vote Nov. 6 for the president, vice president, 90 deputies of the National Assembly and 20 of the Central American Parliament.

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