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Nicaraguan government expels nuns in latest Catholic crackdown

by Kelly Valencia

The Nicaraguan government has expelled three Catholic nuns in what’s being seen as the latest attack on the Catholic church in the country.

Sisters Isabel, Cecilia Blanco Cubillo and Sister Teresa, two of them from Costa Rica and one from Guatemala, arrived in their native country on Wednesday according to the Diocese of Tilarán-Liberia.

The three nuns had been working at a nursing home for decades, according to local news outlets.

Although it is unknown why they were forced to leave Nicaragua, their removal is being seen as part of the government’s crackdown on priests and believers.

Bishop Manuel Eugenio Salazar from the Diocese of Tilarán-Liberia, said: “We join in the prayers of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the people of Nicaragua, on the great feast of the Easter of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

President Daniel Ortega has recently increased his criticism of clergy, calling bishops of the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference (CEN) “terrorists” and accusing them of inciting anti-government protests.

In February, Ortega sentenced Bishop Rolando Alvarez, an outspoken government critic, to a 26-year prison term for treason and other charges, a day after he declined to be expelled to the United States as part of a prisoner release.

The president also called Catholic leaders a "mafia" and accused the Vatican of having supported Italian dictator Mussolini.

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