The government accused the university of ‘terrorism’
The Nicaraguan government took over a major Jesuit university in the country’s capital as part of an ongoing campaign against the Catholic Church.
President Daniel Ortega’s Marxist dictatorship evicted six Catholic priests affiliated with the university living in an adjacent residence, National Catholic Register reported last week. The residence belonged to the Jesuit order and not the university.
Ortega’s government seized the school Aug. 15 and changed its name to “Casimiro Sotelo Montenegro National University,” in honor of an assassinated student leader of the Sandinistas, a Marxist-Leninist group linked to the government.
The university canceled classes and administrative proceedings after a criminal court had transferred the university’s property and finances to the government, Al Jazeera reported.
The takeover was Ortega’s “latest effort to lash out at the Catholic Church,” according to Al Jazeera. The university had been accused of being “a centre of terrorism organised by criminal groups.”
Academics, Catholic clergy and the United Nations are among the many protesting the act on social media.
“The university with the highest academic quality in the country has been liquidated,” historian, university alumna and Nicaraguan exile Dora María Téllez wrote in Spanish.
Dictadura de los Ortega Murillo se toma la Universidad Centroamericana y confisca todos sus bienes. La universidad de mayor calidad académica del país ha sido liquidada, pero se volverán a abrir las aulas en Nicaragua en libertad. pic.twitter.com/SJeeXlzRVZ
— Dora María Téllez (@DoraMTellez) August 16, 2023
“The unjust and illegal confiscation of the UCA by the Sandinista dictatorship is outrageous,” exiled Nicaraguan Bishop Silvio Jose Baez posted.
“In this way, they demonstrate their contempt for intellectual freedom, quality education and critical thinking,” Bishop Baez wrote. “Every day, they sink deeper into their irrationality, their wickedness and their fear.”
The United Nations condemned the seizure via a post on X.
“The impact of this measure with the suspension of classes seriously affects the right to education, which is essential for the fulfillment of other human rights,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote in Spanish.