Nicaraguan officials evicted a team of Jesuits from their home in the capital city of Managua shortly after seizing a prestigious university from the religious order-an act the Society of Jesus called a “spectacle.”
The Jesuits, who worked at the Central American University, known locally as UCA, prior to its confiscation on 15th August, were notified of the eviction in the early afternoon of 19th August, according to a statement from the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“After the Jesuits showed them the title, which proved the property did not belong to the university, the agents didn’t accept the documentation and ordered them to vacate the house,” the statement said.
“This is one more spectacle in which truth, justice and respect for the inalienable rights of human beings confront measures seeking to silence the voices that rise up and support the struggle for a country where the rights of everyone, their integrity and their desire to live freely … is respected.”
The six Jesuits left the home with only a few personal possessions each and headed to the residence of another Jesuit community in Managua, according to a statement from the Jesuit province in Central America. The seizure of UCA sparked outrage across the region, with Catholic leaders and organisations sending statements of solidarity.
Observers accused the regime of holding a grudge against the university for its role in the 2018 protests, which called for Ortega’s removal. School officials opened the campus to wounded protesters fleeing police and paramilitaries.
“It’s been a critical voice in the face of Ortega’s authoritarianism and … they wanted to punish the UCA because at times they supported the victims of the Nicaraguan repression,” Jesuit Father José María Tojeira, former rector of the UCA’s sister school in El Salvador, told local media.
Picture: A woman leaves the Jesuit-run Central American University in Managua, Nicaragua, 16th August 2023. The university suspended operations on 16th August after Nicaraguan authorities branded the school a “centre of terrorism” the previous day and froze its assets for confiscation. (OSV News photo/Reuters)