The Nicaraguan Government under President Daniel Ortega has revoked the legal status of the Society of Jesus, leading to the seizure of its assets by the state. This action comes against the backdrop of a mounting campaign of harassment directed towards the religious order.
The decree, highlighted in ministerial agreement 105-2023-OSFL and published on August 23 in La Gaceta, the official newspaper of the regime, outlines the decision by Minister of the Interior María Amelia Coronel Kinloch to annul the legal personhood of the Nicaraguan Company of Jesus Association due to alleged violations of the country’s laws.
The document further specifies the transfer of assets and real estate to the State of Nicaragua, entrusting the attorney general’s office with overseeing this transition.
Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan University Alliance (AUN) has strongly condemned the confiscation of property by the “Sandinista dictatorship of Daniel Ortega.” AUN’s statement unequivocally condemned the move as another instance of the regime’s persistent assault on the Catholic Church and the faith that holds significance for the nation.
While the official announcement was made in La Gaceta on Wednesday, reports indicate that the government had already initiated the confiscation process days prior. On August 15, the Central American University (UCA) and its assets were expropriated, followed by the seizure of the Jesuits’ residence in Villa Carmen on August 19. This residence, distinct from the university, belongs to the Jesuit order and not the university itself.
The AUN voiced concerns over these actions, asserting that the UCA’s transformation from an esteemed institution of academic excellence to a government-controlled entity reflects the Sandinista dictatorship’s hostility towards the Jesuits and their commitment to quality education.
In response, the Jesuits have called for the safeguarding of their freedom and integrity, alongside that of their collaborators. The order emphasized that the decision had been made without adequate proof that legally mandated administrative procedures were overlooked. This ongoing struggle underscores the broader tension between religious institutions and political authorities in Nicaragua.