Managua, Nicaragua, Jun 26, 2019 / 11:13 pm (CNA).- The Archbishop of Managua encouraged the faithful Monday to pray so that peace in Nicaragua be the fruit of justice.
“Let us pray together so that in Nicaragua peace be the fruit of justice, that the restoration of trust be cemented in lasting and respected agreements based on the truth of the facts, reparation and reintegration of the victims and their families,” Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano said in a video posted June 24 by the Archdiocese of Managua.
Earlier this month, Cardinal Brenes said the results of a law granting amnesty to both anti-government activists and security forces will determine whether the legislation is good for the country.
Nicaragua’s unicameral National Assembly passed the amnesty law June 8. Though it has allowed the release of a group of political prisoners, the law has been criticized by the opposition over fears it will also give impunity to troops and paramilitaries responsible for crimes and arbitrary arrests that have taken place during the past 14 months of protests.
The law also requires those released to refrain from future protests.
Deutsche Welle has reported that the released prisoners have not obtained definitive freedom nor have their trials been canceled, which prevents them from going back to work or to studies.
Anti-government protests in Nicaragua began in April 2018. They have resulted in more than 320 deaths, and the country’s bishops mediated on-again, off-again peace talks until they broke down that June.
A new round of dialogue began in February, but the opposition has made the timely release of all protesters a condition of its resumption.
Nicaragua’s crisis began last year after president Daniel Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces.
The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega’s authoritarian bent.
Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.
The Church had suggested that elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, be held this year, but Ortega has ruled this out.
Ortega was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.