The Holy See reported on Saturday that the Vatican’s diplomatic headquarters in Nicaragua was forced to close.
Newsroom (23/03/2022 3:34 PM, Gaudium Press) Yesterday, March 17, the chargé d’affaires of the apostolic nunciature in Nicaragua, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, left the country for Costa Rica. The closure of the diplomatic headquarters of the Holy See occurred as a result of a request from the Nicaraguan government on March 10, 2023,” Vatican News reported.
The Vatican news outlet indicated that “by virtue of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, custody of the apostolic nunciature and its assets was entrusted to the Italian Republic.”
“Before his departure, Diouf was greeted by diplomatic representatives accredited in Nicaragua from the European Union, Germany, France, and Italy,” it said.
Diouf was the last Vatican official in Nicaragua and assumed the role of business manager after the government of Daniel Ortega expelled the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, in March 2022.
26 years in prison
On March 12, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that it was considering suspending diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
This occurred two days after an interview with Pope Francis was published in which he harshly criticized the Ortega regime — where the Catholic Church is persecuted — and compared it to “the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitler dictatorship of 1935.”
He also mentioned the bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison for his opinions against the regime. “A very serious man, very capable. He wanted to give his testimony and did not accept exile,” the Holy Father said.
Likewise, in reference to Ortega, the pope pointed out that “with great respect, I have no choice but to think there’s an imbalance in the person who leads” Nicaragua.
- Compiled by Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA