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Bishop Rolando Álvarez (CNS/Maynor Valenzuela, Reuters)

The Vatican is continuing to negotiate with the Nicaraguan Government for the freedom of Bishop Rolando Álvarez. Source: The Tablet.

In an interview with the Spanish publication Vida Nueva published on 4 August – the first anniversary of Álvarez’s detention – the Pope said that the Holy See was still “trying to negotiate” the release of the bishop, serving a 26-year sentence in Managua’s La Modelo prison.

Francis also confirmed that he had asked Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva to talk to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. 

Mr Lula had an audience with the Pope in the Vatican on 21 June, and said in a press conference the following day said: “I will try to talk to Daniel Ortega about this.”

Brazilian Government sources subsequently said that Mr Lula had tried to telephone Ortega but had been unable to reach him.

Supporters of the bishop have launched a campaign, “Eucharist for Mgr Rolando Álvarez”, calling for him to be allowed to receive communion and celebrate the Eucharist in prison.

An estimated 80 clergy and religious have been forced to leave Nicaragua since 2018. These include another bishop, Silvio Baez, auxiliary bishop of Managua, whom Pope Francis asked to leave Nicaragua after he was attacked by a government supporter.

Bishop Álvarez’ prison sentence is the result of his refusal to leave the country with over 200 political prisoners who were deported in February. 

He refused again when the Nicaraguan Government tried to negotiate with the Vatican for him to be removed to Rome in July. It is understood that the Vatican respects Bishop Álvarez’ wish to remain in Nicaragua.


Vatican still negotiating for Álvarez, one year after detention (By Francis McDonagh, The Tablet)