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President of Nicaragua calls Roman Catholic bishops “terrorists”

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Nicaragua’s increasingly isolated President Daniel Ortega called Roman Catholic bishops “terrorists” Monday and said many countries would have arrested them.

Ortega claims widespread protests that erupted in April 2018 were an attempted coup with foreign backing. During the 2018 protests, at least 325 people died during the clash between the citizens of Nicaragua and the government forces. More than 52,000 people have since fled Nicaragua.

The Nicaragua President has feuded with the bishops who were meditators during the first round of communication between the government and the opposition. This was short-lived however, because Ortega and his government violently shut down the protest.

During these talks, President Ortega seemed to suggest a “pro-democracy” plan that was submitted by Nicaragua’s council of bishops. “The bishops signed that in the name of terrorists at the service of the Yankees […] these bishops are also terrorists,” Ortega stated in a broadcast. “In any other country in the world they would be on trial.”

Throwing bishops in jail is not something Ortega is unfamiliar with. According to ABC News, at least seven people in opposition to Ortega and the November 7 elections have been arrested and jailed on treason charges. Ortega, seeking his fourth consecutive term, has also accused multiple civic groups, media outlets, and opposition leaders of everything from money laundering to treason.

These rocky relations between Ortega and Nicaraguan bishops came about when he first governed in the 1980s, but seemed to die down in 2006, by enforcing strict anti-abortion laws (ABC News).

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