August 24, 2023
Yesterday, the government of Nicaragua escalated its aggression against the Society of Jesus by revoking the Society’s legal status in Nicaragua and ordering the seizure of its properties and assets. Since 2018, the Nicaraguan government has repeatedly exacerbated the repression of civil society and suppressed democratic, academic and religious freedoms.
Last week, the Jesuits’ University of Central America (UCA) in Managua was confiscated by the government. The university’s bank accounts had been frozen by government officials on August 9.
A letter issued by the judge who ordered the seizure described the university as a “center of terrorism,” accusing its administrators and educators of “betraying the trust of the Nicaraguan people” and of “transgressing against the constitutional order.”
The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States reiterates its unwavering solidarity with the Jesuits of Nicaragua and all who collaborate with them. As Saint Paul reminds us, when one part of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer.
We share below the most recent eloquent statement of the Central American Province (translated into English from the original Spanish), and we join our Central American Jesuit brothers in calling on the government of Nicaragua to end this repression.
THE UNJUSTIFIED AGGRESSION AGAINST THE JESUITS CONTINUES IN A CONTEXT OF COMPLETE DEFENSELESSNESS AND TERRORIZING OF THE NICARAGUAN POPULATION.
The State of Nicaragua, through the Ministry of the Interior, by means of Ministerial Agreement No. 105-2023 published today, has revoked the legal status of the Association Society of Jesus in Nicaragua and has decreed that the Attorney General’s Office transfer the Society’s properties and assets to the State.
The decision was made without evidence that the administrative procedures established by law had been followed. As has happened in the majority of the more than 3,000 similar cases of revocation of legal status carried out by the regime since 2018, this agreement was executed without giving the Jesuits an opportunity for legitimate defense and without the presence of an impartial judicial body to judge and halt these completely unjustified and arbitrary abuses of authority. Even prior to the publication of Ministerial Agreement No. 105-2023, the government had already taken one of the assets from the Association Society of Jesus in Nicaragua: the residence where some of its members lived in Managua. On this occasion, in addition to occupying the property, its residents were evicted without being given a reasonable amount of time to collect and take their personal belongings.
The Central American Province of the Society of Jesus:
- Condemns this new aggression against the Jesuits in Nicaragua. It considers it part of a national context of systematic repression, described as “crimes against humanity” by the United Nations’ group of experts on human rights in Nicaragua.
- Confirms that all of this is oriented towards the full establishment of a totalitarian regime.
- Holds the current president and vice president of Nicaragua responsible for, at the very least, condoning these actions and preventing conditions of independence and neutrality in the judiciary that would allow measures to be taken to stop, reverse and sanction them.
- Calls on the president and vice president to:
- End the repression.
- Seek a rational solution in which truth, justice, dialogue, respect for human rights and the rule of law prevail.
- Respect the freedom and full integrity of the Jesuits and those who collaborate with them.
- Joins the thousands of Nicaraguan victims who are waiting for justice to be served and for the harm that the current Nicaraguan government is causing to be repaired.
- Is grateful for the countless expressions of recognition, support and solidarity it has received in the face of these increasing abuses.
San Salvador, August 23, 2023.