Nicaragua’s presidential election on Sunday was won by Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murilo, who imprisoned all opposition leaders and banned their parties.
Out of 13 people in the country, only one Catholic bishop voted.
At dawn on Monday, Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council counted nearly half of the ballots and announced that Ortega had won with about 75 percent of the vote. With this landslide victory, he won his fourth term in office, excluding the 1980s.
Washington called the election fraudulent because the senior leader suppressed his rivals, and the European Union called them “fake.”
In a statement before the census was announced, US President Joe Biden said Ortega and his wife had “held a pantomime election that was neither free nor fair.”
In the weeks leading up to the November 7 election, several statements were made that the country’s democracy was at risk because Catholic bishops did not respect fundamental rights. They also said that every citizen is aware of whether to vote or not.
Archbishop Rene Sandigo of the Diocese of Leon was the only Catholic bishop to run in the election.
On Saturday, the day before the election, the families of about 150 political prisoners sent a letter to Pope Francis urging Nicaragua to respect fundamental human rights.
“We want your humanitarian involvement,” they wrote. According to international and human rights organizations, all members of our family have been detained and detained without justification. ”
They also told the monk that about 150,000 anti-regime protesters had fled to the United States or Costa Rica, and that people in Nicaragua could hardly see their imprisoned relatives, noting that they were “in a difficult situation.” Malnutrition, unhealthy and unhygienic conditions.
“Your Holiness, this is not a political issue, but a humanitarian issue,” they wrote. “My family is suffering,” he said. The Church is afraid of hiding, exile, and death, from the priests to the hierarchy. ”
Bishop Silvio Baez, who is living in exile in Miami, was among those forced to flee the country after Pope Francis ordered him to leave Nicaragua because his life was threatened.
“Today is not a day of victory for anyone in Nicaragua,” the head monk said at a ceremony at Washington’s National Church at the invitation of Bishop David Malloy, chairman of the International Commission on Justice and Peace.
“Today is another day of tears and bitter death that has passed through our country and left many innocent victims. We cannot and do not want to forget,” Baez said. The mass was shown on television and broadcast to the public through social media.
Commenting on the presidential election, he said, “The whole world is looking at our country because of the illegal events that are taking place there today.
“Today, the black ambitions for power of those who have destroyed our country, the ruthless rhetoric of distorting history and hiding the truth, seem to be forcing themselves,” he said. However, today is not the end of Nicaragua’s history. Today is not the end, but the beginning of a phase of trial, hope, struggle, commitment, unity and generosity. ”
He recalled those killed in government repression, those deported, and those who were “unjustly imprisoned and brutalized for wanting a better country.”
Among those affected by the Ortega regime are bishops and priests, but the bishop has not yet been imprisoned.
When Ortega and Murillo appeared in public this year, they accused the bishops of being “coup plotters,” “not a demonic spring,” “foreign agents,” and preached false Christianity.
Ortega also recovered from COVID-19 in late September and sent police to intimidate bishops and priests with a police booth in front of Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes’ house, which has been in the spotlight.
The government says more than 70 percent of the population voted, but an independent observer, Urnas Abiertas, meaning “open ballot,” said 81 percent abstained nationwide.
Pedro Mendez, the father of the diocesan Masaya near the capital, was tortured in 2018 by the government as part of a “cleansing operation” following a social uprising in April of that year. He hung a flag in his church with the support of his church members that “his fingers will be clean” because they will not paint it to prove that they voted the same as Nicaraguans should.
The Church does not vote for those who are “imprisoned, exiled, or unemployed” because “the church is persecuted” because “the bishops and priests are not of demonic origin, not coup organizers and terrorists.” “People who died begging for freedom.”