Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega criticized the Catholic Church on Tuesday, saying that a “
” within the Vatican decides on the election of the pope and senior religious leaders.
The people should elect the cardinals and there should be a vote among the Catholic people (...) so that the pope is also elected, by a direct vote of the people, so that it is the people who decide and not the mafia that is organized there in the Vatican
,” Daniel Ortega said at an event in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.
"I don't believe in popes or kings"
This diatribe by the Nicaraguan president comes more than a week after a statement by Pope Francis who said he was "
" and "
" by the situation in Nicaragua, in particular after the 26-year prison sentence of Bishop Rolando Álvarez and the deportation of 222 opponents to the United States.
On February 9, Ortega's government freed 222 political prisoners, deported them to the United States and stripped them of their Nicaraguan nationality.
Bishop Rolando Álvarez, detained since August 2022, refused to be extradited and was sentenced the next day to 26 years in prison, in particular for “
conspiring and spreading false news
I don't believe in popes or kings.
Who elects the pope?
How many votes does the pope get from the Christian people?
“said Daniel Ortega.
Nicaragua has toughened its laws to crack down on opposition following protests in 2018 calling for the ouster of Mr. Ortega, who has been in power since 2007. He was re-elected in November 2021 for a fourth consecutive term. result of a poll from which his rivals were absent, arrested or forced into exile.