The Nicaraguan government outlaws the Jesuit Order, and all property is confiscated

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MEXICO CITY (AP) – The Nicaraguan government on Wednesday declared the Jesuit religious order illegal and ordered the confiscation of all its property.

This step comes one week after the formation of the government of President Daniel Ortega The University of Central America, run by the Jesuits in Nicaragua, was confiscatedunder the pretext that it is a “centre of terrorism”.

The forfeiture order, published on Wednesday, alleged that the Roman Catholic system had failed to comply with the tax reporting.

It was the latest in a series of increasingly authoritarian measures taken by the Nicaraguan government against the Catholic Church and opposition figures. The Jesuit Order, known as the Society of Jesus, condemned these actions.

The University of Central America in Nicaragua was the center of 2018 protests against Ortega’s regime.

After last week’s announcement, the Society of Jesus of Central America said in a statement that “this is a government policy that systematically violates human rights and appears to be aimed at entrenching a totalitarian state.”

Since December 2021, at least 26 universities in Nicaragua have been closed and their assets confiscated by order of the Ortega government in a similar measure. Seven of them were foreign institutions.

The Vatican in April Her embassy closed In Nicaragua after the country’s government proposed suspending diplomatic relations.

Two orders of Sisters, including those from the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa, were expelled from Nicaragua last year.

The expulsions, closures and confiscations did not only target the church. Nicaragua has banned or closed down more than 3,000 civic groups and NGOs.

In May, the government ordered the closure of the Nicaraguan Red Cross, accusing it of “attacks on peace and stability” during anti-government demonstrations in 2018. The local Red Cross says it only helped treat injured protesters during the protests.

In June the government And the confiscation of property belonging to 222 opposition figures who were forced into exile in February after being imprisoned by the Ortega regime.

Among those taken from prison and forced onto a flight to the US on February 9 are seven presidential candidates barred from running in the 2021 election, lawyers, rights activists, journalists and former members of the Sandinista guerrilla movement.

Thousands have fled into exile since Nicaraguan security forces violently suppressed mass anti-government protests in 2018. Ortega says the protests were a foreign-backed coup attempt aimed at toppling him.

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