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Solidarity with Nicaragua

· Sunday prayer in all Latin American churches pleading for an end to the violence ·

Paramilitary groups conquer Masaya yet again after days of terrible fighting

Prayer in all Latin American churches to plead for an end to the violence in Nicaragua--this initiative has been proposed by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) for Sunday 22 July. It is a concrete gesture with which to express solidarity with and closeness to the Nicaraguan people, and in particular the Bishops, who are increasingly targeted by the government and paramilitary gangs that support it. A press release of CELAM expressed that representatives of the Church in Nicaragua are “prophets of justice who face dramatic and grievous social and political crises in the nation”. The memo, signed by the president of CELAM, Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez, metropolitan archbishop of Bogotá and the general secretary, Juan Espinoza Jiménez, auxiliary Bishop of Morelia in Mexico, emphasizes that “in this very serious situation, we are called to be the voice of those who have no voice, to declare their rights and to find ways to dialogue, interact and establish justice and peace”. CELAM invites all Nicaraguan bishops to “not close their eyes when faced with the outcries and suffering of our people, and to continue to be courageous leaders through whom God will make Himself known and will guide the history of his people”.

The Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious (C.L.A.R.) has also launched an urgent call to the whole world to bring an end to the violence in Nicaragua. This group denounced the state of complete anarchy into which the nation is falling, with more than 300 dead, between demonstrations and the police, noting “a time of distress and confusion, dramatic bloodshed, resistance to the fight for dignity”. The Church, as it “seeks to mediate in such a way as to bring an end to the violence, has now become a target for attacks by the government and its paramilitary gangs”.

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