Opinion: the rupture of diplomatic relations between Nicaragua and the Holy See

Photograph of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (d), together with his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo (i), during an act in Managua (Nicaragua).

Photograph of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (d), together with his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo (i), during an act in Managua (Nicaragua).

Photo: EFE/Presidency of Nicaragua – Cesar Pérez

In a last and desperate measure that transcends the political diplomatic and that has serious social, religious and cultural implications, through a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, the Nicaraguan dictatorship has made official what has become, due to its disgust, a new unprecedented historical event: the suspension of diplomatic relations between Nicaragua and the Catholic Church.

The Holy See (to refer to the legal-political entity that represents the Pope and the central government of the Catholic Church throughout the world) has recently become one more in the list of States with which Nicaragua has suspended its relations. diplomatic measures and Nicaragua thus becomes the first and only country of our times to adopt such a radically counterproductive measure. After many years of ups and downs in Nicaragua-Vatican relations, Pope Francis finally declared in a public interview what Nicaraguan society and the international community have been verifying and disseminating over and over again: Nicaragua is governed by “a rude dictatorship” with dyes “to a communist or hitleriana dictatorship”.

As expected, the Nicaraguan dictatorial elite, in its improvisation in the administration of its —badly named— foreign policy, once again, instead of opening up to dialogue and betting on political proposals aimed at finding solutions, decides to ignore to the political and apostolic call of the pope and, not content with it, he decided to suspend his relations with the Vatican and all that this implies. What proceeds to this historic measure is the closure of the embassies and consulates, both of Nicaragua in Rome and vice versa, the withdrawal of diplomatic representatives and the immediate interruption of official communication between governments.

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Likewise, this rather deranged decision, faced with an institution like the Church that has historically been characterized by accompanying Nicaraguan society in numerous aspects, will end up being evidenced in actions such as the limitation or impediment of cooperation in various areas such as humanitarian aid and the fight against poverty. Only the closure of Cáritas in the country, after more than 60 years of action on the ground, represents a significant setback on issues such as food security, human trafficking and vulnerability reduction in emergency situations. Also, although there are still doubts that this is the case, this measure may increase tension and conflict between the two countries and make it difficult to resolve disputes peacefully.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential to highlight that the Holy See is a recognized and active international actor in the field of diplomacy and international relations. Through its network of apostolic nunciatures, the Church maintains a diplomatic presence throughout the world, specifically in 182 countries, which represents the majority of the countries in the world. Similarly, it maintains relations with the European Union and the Order of Malta, which are international entities recognized as subjects of international law and is an observer member before numerous international organizations.

The diplomatic presence of the Vatican in the world through 122 nunciatures is so important that, traditionally, the apostolic nuncios (ambassadors of the Pope) accredited in Nicaragua have held the honorary title of deans of the diplomatic corps, adopting roles such as representing the diplomatic corps in official ceremonies and protocol events, maintain constant communication with the country’s authorities, coordinate the activities and positions of the diplomatic corps, and chair the meetings and sessions of the diplomatic corps. There is no doubt that, especially in Nicaragua and in the worst moments of our history, the presence of the Holy See, the message of the figure of the Pope and the values ​​promoted by the Church in the numerous processes have been of vital importance. of political transition and in the constant search for the long-awaited peace.

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With this fact, the deep contradictions on which the worst of the dictatorial structures known up to now in Nicaragua have been established are also revealed. The hypocrisy, the institutionalized lie and the pragmatic manipulation of faith, spirituality and culture are demonstrated, as well as the emptiness of that supposed message of peace and reconciliation through which the Ortega Murillo couple took over the government leadership back in the day. the beginning of the 2000s, by the hand of the one who was for many years the most important ecclesiastical hierarch in the country, Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo (RIP).

Ortega, Murillo and those who have been in charge of building and legitimizing a criminal regime like the one that governs Nicaragua today, have also shown that they do not have ears to listen to the testimony of so many people of good will who have been victims of their abuses and arbitrariness to reason for their faith, their beliefs and their political positions. And, no less important, they have been incapable of heeding the call of the international community and the call of the successor of Peter to guarantee respect for the human dignity of those who, firm in their faith and fidelity to their ministry, preferred prison. into exile and continues to suffer the ravages of political prison in a maximum security cell: Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, Bishop of Matagalpa and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Estelí.

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Up to now, there is nothing left but to keep recording the atrocities, impudence and mistakes that the dictatorship continues to commit in all possible terms; continue denouncing and disseminating in all spaces the message of peace and freedom contrary to the message of discord and death; and assume the imperative personal and collective commitment of non-repetition. John XXIII, during the height of the nuclear crisis of the Cold War, declared in his 1963 encyclical “Pacem in terris” that true peace is the fruit of active justice and that every person has the right to life, to physical integrity and the minimum conditions necessary for a dignified and free existence.

Sooner rather than later, dignity, justice and peace will prevail in Nicaragua and, for this, the reestablishment of relations with the Church will be essential.

*Ambassador of Peace of the European Commission and One Young World. Internationalist and Political Analyst

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