The Church of Central America has given strong support to Nicaraguan bishops who speak and act to protect the most vulnerable population facing the Covid-19 pandemic. In a message, the Presidency Council of the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America (SEDAC) expressed closeness and full support for the actions of the Nicaraguan Church in the context of the health crisis, reported Fides News Agency.
“We express our closeness and solidarity with the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, for their great concern and generous action in favor of the health and life of the beloved Nicaraguan people”, says the Council, represented by Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas and Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, both from El Salvador.
In a message released on July 3, the Church in the region also invites governments and citizens to join efforts “in favor of people’s health and life”. “Nobody should be forgotten!” stresses the Bishops’ text, remembering that “we are all in the same boat” and “we all must get involved. Governments and citizens must join together in a common effort in favor of health and people’s lives. In addition, we all must comply with the health security measures to protect the lives of our brothers and sisters”, they say.
Since April 2018, the administration of President Daniel Ortega has attacked the Catholic Church and, in particular, priests who make harsh criticisms of repression, crimes, and violations of rights and freedoms.
Mgr. Rolando Álvarez, one of the most respected voices in the Catholic hierarchy, had announced a plan to allow prevention and medical care centers to deal with suspected cases of coronavirus in Matagalpa, which was prohibited by the Ministry of Health. The institution is criticized for centralizing information and blocking all types of help that organizations or individuals seek to provide to the most vulnerable, taking into account the limitations of the public health system.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega has ruled out a quarantine declaration and defended “normality” with the argument of protecting the survival of the poorest. However, he limited his few public appearances to television messages. To date, the Ministry of Health does not recognize that Nicaragua is experiencing a health emergency. The official figures reported are minimal: 83 deaths and 2,519 cases. While the Covid-19 Citizens’ Observatory, made up of independent experts, registers 7,402 suspected cases, according to data as of July 1. The total death toll is 2,087.