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Human Rights

Nicaragua's government shuts down 7 Catholic church-run radio stations

The bishop said the measure was “an injustice” and is asking to see the legality of such a move

August 3, 2022 6:56pm

Updated: August 4, 2022 11:53am

The Nicaraguan government ordered the closure of seven radio stations run by the Roman Catholic Church on Monday, as the regime continues to crack down on NGOs and civic groups in the country.

Reverend Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the northern province of Matagalpa, said he received a letter from the state’s telecommunications agency Telcor informing him of the closures during Mass.

The bishop said the measure was “an injustice” and is asking to see the legality of such a move.

"All our radio stations have been closed, but they will not cancel the word of God," Alvarez said on Twitter.

Alvarez has been an outspoken critic of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

He has repeatedly called for his regime to release prisoners, including political prisoners. Earlier this year, he went on a hunger strike to protest the “police persecution” against him.

In addition to closing the church radio stations, the Nicaraguan government sent police to occupy the parish house where one of the radio stations is run out in Sebaco, about 65 miles north of Managua.

“We want to make clear that if they touch one of our priests, they touch the entire Matagalpa diocese,” said the Matagalpa diocese Reverend Uriel Vallejos, who was inside the house when the police surrounded it.

“I am being besieged; the police have broken the chapel’s locks to enter where the (radio) equipment is to take it,” he wrote. “The police are attacking the faithful who are inside the school (next door).”

Daniel Ortega’s government has been relentlessly cracking down on NGOs and groups, viewing them as opposed to the regime. The Ortega regime claims the groups receive funding from abroad to conspire to remove him from office.

This year alone, Nicaragua has closed more than 200 institutions already. In addition, the government announced that an additional 100 groups might be forced to shut down soon.

Ortega has been widely criticized for the November 2021 presidential elections, when he was elected as president for the fourth consecutive term. Ahead of the elections, the regime arrested more than 46 opposition leaders and six presidential candidates.