Source: Miami Herald
In a risky change of strategy, embattled President Daniel Ortega has backed off from a Catholic Church-mediated dialogue with his opposition and launched a brutal attack on Catholic bishops in sharp language that many say gives tacit approval for his followers to desecrate churches and rough up clergy.
Some priests have moved temporarily away from their parishes.
Nicaragua’s top prelate, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, was shoved, punched and harassed earlier this month and another church leader was cut on the forearm with a knife in a provincial town where hooded Ortega supporters, some of them armed, mobbed the clerics.
At least seven churches have suffered vandalism, including a chapel in Jinotega, center of a northern coffee-growing region, that was hit Friday night. More seriously, hooded gunmen strafed a church in Managua earlier this month in a prolonged siege against unarmed student protesters who had sought sanctuary inside.