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Vatican closes Nicaragua embassy amid escalating row

A person holds the nationwide flag of Nicaragua at St. Peter’s sq. in the course of the Pope’s weekly Angelus prayer on August 21, 2022 in The Vatican. AFP

MANAGUA — The Vatican consultant to Nicaragua has left the nation and closed its embassy there amid persevering with tensions between Managua and the Holy See, the Vatican Information portal has reported.

Bilateral relations had been on the point of collapse after Pope Francis in an interview final week referred to the federal government of socialist president Daniel Ortega as a dictatorship.

The portal mentioned the diplomat, Monsignor Marcel Diouf, had traveled on Friday to Costa Rica.

The closure of the embassy “occurred on account of a request from the Nicaraguan authorities,” Vatican Information mentioned.

It mentioned custody of the apostolic nunciature in Managua had been “entrusted to the Italian Republic,” beneath phrases of the Vienna Conference on Diplomatic Relations.

In an interview with Argentine portal Infobae on March 10, Francis described Ortega’s authorities as a “gross dictatorship” led by an “unbalanced” president.

Within the interview, the Argentine pope additionally expressed concern, with out naming him, for Nicaraguan bishop Rolando Alvarez, who in February was sentenced to 26 years in jail for “undermining nationwide integrity,” amongst different costs.

Alvarez has been beneath home arrest since August and refused to be deported together with 222 political dissidents to the USA.

Quickly after, the Nicaraguan Overseas Ministry issued a press release saying that “a suspension of diplomatic relations (with the Vatican) has been proposed.”

Days earlier than the pontiff’s feedback, the Managua authorities closed two universities affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Since 2007, Ortega has engaged in more and more authoritarian practices, exiling or jailing dissidents and rivals, quashing presidential time period limits and seizing management of all branches of the state.



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