Rolando Álvarez

Falsely Accused Nicaraguan Bishop Chooses Prison Over US Exile

17 February 2023

2.5 MINS

A Nicaraguan bishop falsely accused of “spreading fake news” has chosen life in prison over exile in the United States.

Rolando Álvarez, a vocal opponent of Nicaragua’s socialist President Daniel Ortego, was sentenced on Friday to 26 years in gaol, after being “tried” for “treason”.

Totalitarian Lawfare

Álvarez was convicted using “anti-treason” laws, weaponised by Ortego in 2021.

The changes opened the door for the far-left leader to prosecute and imprison political opponents as “domestic terrorists.”

Vaguely worded, the anti-treason legislation leans on the essence of subjective terms like “hate speech” and “inciting hatred” to suppress dissent.

Out of 46 opposition members arrested in the early months of 2022, 25 are still serving lengthy gaol terms.

Álvarez was arrested later that year.

Recounting the case, Catholic News Agency said that Álvarez was sentenced after ‘refusing to get on the plane with 222 other political prisoners the dictatorship was deporting to the United States.’

According to the ruling, the bishop’s alleged crimes were,

‘Undermining national security and sovereignty.
Spreading fake news through information technology.
Obstructing an official in the performance of his duties,
and aggravated disobedience or contempt of authority.’

Authorities also ruled Álvarez’s actions to be a ‘detriment to society’, declaring him a ‘traitor to the country.’

In addition, Álvarez was fined an 800-day tax and stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship.

State vs Church

Addressing the nation, Ortega labelled the political prisoners “criminal mercenaries” working for “foreign powers.”

El Presidente’s resentment of the apparently incorruptible Catholic bishop stems from 2018.

Breaking its neutrality, the Catholic church provided sanctuary to wounded protesters being hunted down by the gun-toting Sandinista socialists in 2018.

Displeased by the Church refusing to hand over wounded students, Ortega retaliated, accusing clergy of working for the US government.

Rolando Álvarez’s imprisonment coincides with the sentencing of four priests, days before his own conviction.

Ramiro Tijerino, José Luis Díaz, Sadiel Eugarrios and Raúl Vega González were sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for the same manufactured crime of “hate-against-the-state.’

Human Rights Abuses

Nicaragua isn’t the first country to suffer from an overzealous bureaucracy turning freedom of speech into a form of violence against the state.

Bishop Rolando Álvarez joins a growing number of political prisoners around the world who have been falsely detained under “spreading misinformation”, “hate speech”, or “inciting hatred”.

Iran, India, Pakistan, China, North Korea, and Egypt already imprison people for “insults”.

Through a loose application of the ‘war on terror’, “hate speech” against the state is easily branded as “treason.”

65-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Monir was arrested after appearing on Al Jazeera in 2020.

Egyptian authorities who arrested Monir alleged he was ‘spreading fake news, had joined a terrorist group, and was misusing social media.’

The journalist later died in isolation.

Enter Ramy Kamel.

He spent two years in solitary for raising concerns about the mistreatment of Coptic Christians.

His “misinformation” incarceration was based on vague charges and zero evidence.

Laws built on feelings are easy to break.

This kind of slippery legislation doesn’t need evidence-based reasoning to secure a conviction.

In the West

Of importance, the equating of reasoned criticism with violence, and by extension “domestic terrorism”, is being played out in the West as we speak.

“Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” (EDI) policing is one area. Another is “Environmental Social Governance” (ESG).

As are Critical Race Theory (CRT) and LGBTQAA+’s toxic “oppressor and oppressed” subjective intersectionality divisions (identity politics).

Digging deeper, EDI, ESG, CRT, LGBTQAA+isms, are nothing more than “safe space” Trojan horses for permitting the abuse of power.

Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega isn’t the only bureaucrat bullying those he claims to represent.

For example, in the United Kingdom, policing now includes arresting people for breaching soft-totalitarian safetyism laws on social media.

The bottom line is, bad laws lead to bad government.

Vague terms such as “hate speech” and “inciting hatred” are powerful excuses for the intentional overthrow of the people by the State.


Photo: Diócesis de Matagalpa via Aleteia

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  1. Kaylene Emery 18 February 2023 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    May God grant us the integrity of this man of God. Father send in your angels to comfort him in these hours of darkness.

    • RL 20 February 2023 at 10:09 am - Reply


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