(ZENIT News / Washington, DC, 11.02.2023).- Following a negotiation between the Governments of the Sandinista dictatorship and that of the United States, on Thursday, February 9, 2023 political prisoners left Nicaragua. But Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa, one of the prisoners, refused to leave the country.
But Bishop Álvarez was not the only one not expatriated. Thirty-nine other prisoners did not leave the country of the Ortega dictatorship, the husband and wife team that rule the nation as President and Vice-President, respectively. Among those not leaving were Father Leonardo Urbina and Father Oscar Danilo Benavides. The latter was sentenced, in previous days, to 10 years of prison for conspiracy, the spreading of false news and acts against the national integrity. Sentenced also for conspiring against the country were Fathers Ramiro Tijerino , Rector of the John Paul II University; José Luis Díaz and Sadiel Eugarrios, First and Second Vicar of the Matagalpa Cathedral, and Father Raúl Vega. Two seminarians and a cameraman were also sentenced.
But it’s Bishop Álvarez that has most enraged the Sandinista Government. In addition to removing the Bishop’s Nicaraguan nationality, the government sentenced him to 26 years of prison for his refusal to leave the country. The sentence was given on Friday, February 10, in the afternoon, local time. The country’s dictatorship accuses him of organizing violent groups through the media to destabilize the country.
On Thursday, February 9, after learning that Bishop Álvarez would not leave the country, Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega said on national TV: “The one who didn’t want to get on the plane was the character Álvarez. He was in the queue and when he got to the steps he said he would not go, that he had to talk with the Bishops first. Something absurd, as the decision was of the State, he couldn’t question it.”