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Palácio do Planalto
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World News

Brazil president offers sanctuary to persecuted priests in Nicaragua

by Kelly Valencia

Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has offered refuge to those being persecuted for their faith in Nicaragua. 

Speaking at the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bolsonaro said "Brazil repudiates religious persecution." 

"I want to announce that Brazil opens its doors to welcome the Catholic priests and nuns who have suffered cruel persecution by the dictatorial regime in Nicaragua," Bolsonaro said, without providing any specifics.

Last month, Nicaragua's government closed six Catholic radio stations and arrested several priests, as part of an ongoing crackdown on the Catholic Church in the country which is seen as an "enemy of the state." 

Among the priests arrested is Bishop Rolando Alvarez, an outspoken critic of Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega. He is being accused of "carrying out acts of hate against the population with the aim of destabilising the Nicaraguan state."

Evangelical Christian churches in Brazil are big supporters of Bolsonaro, who was born into a Catholic family. 

He is known to defend, be a fierce defender of conservative positions in abortion and gender identity. 

Bolsonaro's critics say his offer to Nicaraguan's faith leaders is a political move ahead of the country's presidential elections in October.  


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