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Pope’s No. 2 says Nicaragua must have openness on both sides

CARDINAL PAROLIN
Alessia GIULIANI/CPP/CIRIC
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Despite attacks on Francis' rep in the country and other prelates, the Holy See still hoping dialogue can begin again

Dialogue in Nicaragua, a country shaken by significant protests, can only exist if there is a will on both sides to reach a “compromise,” according to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s secretary of state of the Holy See, speaking Wednesday on the Italian Catholic television network TV2000.

In Nicaragua, the cardinal noted, there are paramilitary groups that “sow terror.” Even the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag, has been attacked. The cardinal said the Holy See will not formally protest in reaction to this event.

On 9 July, the nuncio, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Managua, and another bishop were attacked by masked and armed government supporters while they were in a church.

Despite the situation, continued the Vatican’s second-in-command, the Holy See hopes that the dialogue can resume. But for that, he warned, it is necessary that both sides have a “will to reach a compromise.” Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, who has been in power since 2007 after an initial period between 1979 and 1990, has been fiercely criticized since April. More than 260 people have died in the brutal repression of those demonstrations. 

The country’s bishops’ conference had proposed a mediation, arguing in particular for moving ahead the general elections to 2019 instead of 2021. This request was refused on July 7 by Ortega, who then attacked the bishops, criticizing “those who cast curses and condemn us to death in many religious institutions.” 

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