Nicaragua is considering suspending relations with the Vatican, the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry said on Sunday after Pope Francis called the Central American country "a crude dictatorship".
"Faced with information disseminated by sources linked to the Catholic Church, the government of reconciliation and national unity of our blessed and always free Nicaragua specifies that a suspension of diplomatic relations is envisaged between the Vatican State and the Republic of Nicaragua," the ministry said in a statement.
Pope Francis described President Daniel Ortega's regime as a "crude dictatorship" on Friday, in an interview with the Argentine daily Infobae. “With all due respect, I have no choice but to believe that this leader suffers from an imbalance,” he said.
"It's as if we wanted to establish the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitlerian one of 1935", continued the pope, adding: "These are crude dictatorships".
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega had estimated at the end of February that a "mafia" within the Vatican decided on the election of the pope and senior religious leaders.
"The people should elect the cardinals and there should be a vote among the Catholic people (...) so that the pope is also elected, by a direct vote of the people, so that it is the people who decide and not the mafia that is organized there in the Vatican,” Ortega said.
This diatribe by the Nicaraguan president came more than a week after a statement by Pope Francis who said he was "concerned" and "saddened" by the situation in Nicaragua, in particular after the 26-year prison sentence of Bishop Rolando Álvarez and the expulsion of 222 opponents to the United States.
On February 9, Mr. Ortega's government released 222 political prisoners, deported them to the United States and stripped them of their Nicaraguan nationality.
Bishop Rolando Álvarez, detained since August 2022, refused to be extradited and was sentenced the next day to 26 years in prison, in particular for "conspiring and spreading false news".
The Editorial Board (with AFP)