HomeAmericasRadio María in Nicaragua shut down by country’s dictatorship 

Radio María in Nicaragua shut down by country’s dictatorship 

Daniel Ortega. / Credit: Flickr de la OEA (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 10, 2024 / 16:55 pm (CNA).

The dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, canceled the legal status of Radio María Nicaragua along with that of several evangelical churches.

The decision was detailed in ministerial agreement No. 34-2024-OSFL, signed by Minister of the Interior María Amelia Coronel Kinlock and published July 9 in the official government newspaper La Gaceta.

In addition to Radio María, also named in the notice were the Prince of Peace Christian Church House of Prayer Association, the Association of Evangelical Churches of Nicaragua Jacob’s Well, the Apostolic Ministry Pentecost Prophetic Fire Association, and eight other institutions.

The ministerial agreement states that these organizations have not reported “for periods of between 2 and 26 years their financial statements” with “detailed breakdowns of income and expenses,” which hinders “regulation and oversight” by the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate of Registration and Regulation of Nonprofit Organizations.

Sources consulted by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, pointed out that this is the same dictatorship, through the Ministry of the Interior, that decides not to receive these financial statements when the organizations want to file them and then argues failure to file as a reason for the cancellation of the legal status of targeted organizations.

The notice in La Gaceta also specified that the title to the properties of all the listed organizations will pass over to the government of Nicaragua, the measure usually taken by the dictatorship when it decides to revoke the legal status of a nonprofit institution.

On April 11, Radio María Nicaragua had previously reported that its bank accounts in the Banco de la Producción, where donations are received in dollars and córdobas, the national currency, were frozen.

‘More attacks against the Church’ in Nicaragua

In an X post, Nicaragua’s former ambassador to the Organization of American States, Arturo McFields Yescas, denounced the regime’s “latest attack against the Church.” 

“Radio María’s accounts were frozen, their programming was altered, they were monitored, harassed, and finally today they canceled their legal status. The satanic dictatorship of Nicaragua hates the Church to death,” McFields Yescas declared.

For its part, the Nicaragua University Alliance charged on X that “the Ortega-Murillo regime continues to demonstrate its fear of truth and faith, canceling Radio María Nicaragua. They will not silence us. We condemn this new attack against freedom of the press and religion.”

Meanwhile, exiled researcher and lawyer Martha Patricia Molina, author of the report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?”, told ACI Prensa the Ortega-Murillo dictatorship continues to persecute Christians in Nicaragua “despite the silence that has been imposed on bishops and priests so they won’t continue denouncing the arbitrary actions committed daily.”

“First, Radio María was forced to cut staff and broadcasting hours due to high operating costs that are attributed to the increase in charges for basic services such as electricity, which is a way employed by the dictatorship to financially suffocate the Church,” she explained.

“Then the vice dictator Rosario Murillo forced the radio directors to include in their programming the daily speeches that she broadcasts in the pro-government media,” Molina charged in a statement to ACI Prensa.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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