Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2023 / 11:15 am (CNA).
After closing down a Jesuit-run university earlier this month and seizing its assets, the Daniel Ortega regime in Nicaragua has given the school a new name. It is now called “Casimiro Sotelo Montenegro National University,” named for a Sandinista student leader assassinated in 1967 by the Somoza regime.
This change comes after the government expelled a group of Jesuit students from their house near the school, claiming that the Catholic university was housing terrorists.
Jason Poblete, president of the Global Liberty Alliance and an expert on Central and South America, spoke with “EWTN News Nightly” on Aug. 24 about the current situation in Nicaragua.
“This is a systematic attack, I believe, on the Catholic Church in a country that is a majority Catholic,” he said. “They want to wipe out Catholicism, eventually, from the public square. That’s their goal.”
He explained that expelling religion from the country will take them a long period of time as the Nicaraguan people are “devout people” and “deeply religious.”
Despite the strong faith of the people, the Ortega regime has been “cracking down overtly on the Catholic Church — shutting down institutions, persecuting religious groups,” Poblete explained.
The U.S. State Department recently placed visa restrictions on 100 top Nicaraguan officials. However, Poblete said these sanctions may not be being used “as effectively as we should.”
“We should be sitting down and coming up with a policy that will long-term advance the U.S. national interest, defend religious freedom, which is part of our core national value, which we’re not doing as good as we should, and stop dawdling with the dictator. That’s the bottom line,” he said.
He added: “We’ve been too easy on him [Ortega] and the people around him and it’s not going to be the Catholic Church that can push him out or create that space that we need in Nicaragua; it’s going to be the U.S. and other countries engaged and being a little more focused, not just with sanctions but with other policies.”
Poblete urged people to read material being published by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“There’s a lot of good recommendations there that should be adopted by the Biden administration, which have not been,” he stated.
Watch the full “EWTN News Nightly” interview with Poblete below.
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