“I follow with concern what is happening in Nicaragua, bishops and priests have been deprived of their freedom,” Pope Francis acknowledged this morning at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square. And it is no wonder: the Sandinista dictatorship has deployed a hunting and capture operation against Catholic religious since before Christmas Eve and it has not yet stopped.

According to the latest report by religious expert Martha Patricia Molina, which EL MUNDO has accessed, there are 18 religious people illegally detained. Among them stands out Monsignor Isidoro del Carmen Mora, captured by police and paramilitaries hours after he dedicated his prayer to the rebel bishop, Rolando Álvarez, the Nicaraguan Mandela, who is serving more than 500 days of the 26-year sentence imposed for treason. .

The bishop of Siuna fell into the hands of the Sandinista revolution 12 days ago, but to date there is no formal accusation against him nor is the place of his detention known. Similar circumstances surround the kidnappings, as defined by human rights organizations, of the 17 remaining religious. The last one, on the brink of the new year, was José Gustavo Sandino, parish priest of the Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Church, forcibly removed from his residence despite the multiple illnesses he suffers from.

“I express to them, to their family and to the entire church in the country my closeness and my insistent prayer. I invite all of you present here and the people of God while I wish that the path of dialogue be always sought to overcome difficulties. Let us pray for Nicaragua today,” added the bishop of Rome.

Hours before the papal declaration, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Monsignor Silvio José Báez, made an appeal not only to his country, but to the international community, after the revolutionary coven led by co-president Rosario Murillo. Daniel Ortega’s wife compared Catholic religious people to the devil.

“Do not leave us alone,” implored Báez, one of the banners for the Nicaraguan people who rose up against the dictatorship in 2018. The bishop went further by asking the international community to “be more effective in putting pressure on the Sandinista dictatorship.” of Ortega, who demands the freedom of all political prisoners and the restoration of democratic order in the country.