The Vatican has abandoned its diplomatic mission in Nicaragua. At the end of this week, the last representative of the Papal States left the nunciature - the Vatican embassy - of Managua, as the official news portal Vatican News reported on Saturday. Monsignor Marcel Diouf had moved to Costa Rica. Nicaragua's authoritarian President Daniel Ortega had recently called for the closure of the nunciature. At the beginning of 2022, the Vatican nuncio had already been expelled from the country.
The background to the escalation of diplomatic relations with the Vatican is that the Catholic Church has been one of the critics of Ortega's left-wing government since 2018. While many members of the opposition were killed in Nicaragua, others sought and found shelter and help in places of worship. Ortega therefore described church representatives as terrorists, among other things. Dozens of priests were also arrested or fled abroad. Pope Francis compared the Ortega regime in an interview with the Soviet dictatorship in Moscow and with the Hitler dictatorship in Germany.
One bishop, Rolando Álvarez, was sentenced to 26 years in prison in February. He was charged with disobedience, undermining national integrity and other offenses. Critics spoke of a purely politically motivated procedure.
Because of the erosion of democracy and civil liberties under Ortega, the US and the European Union have repeatedly imposed sanctions on the country's leadership and relatives of the president.