Demonstration at the Nicaraguan Embassy, London, 1.9.2018

Demonstation in front of Nicaraguan Embassy, London

Wednesday 5th September

A friend of mine, Bishop Silvio Baez, from Nicaragua, a member of the Discalced Carmelites Order, was recently set upon by government thugs, who stabbed, beat him and took off his ring, and all in front of the Papal Nuncio and his Archbishop. He was singled out for this treatment because he dares to defy the government of Daniel Ortega, through his constant messages on social media; alerting the world to what is happening in his beloved country.

I first met Bishop Baez when he came to visit Preston, Lancashire in the 1980’s. He was then a student in Rome. I was struck by his politeness and manners. He was quiet and shy but could be fun to be with. He told me a lot about his home country Nicaragua. I think he was surprised that I knew so much, as I had been involved in some kind of Central American rights group, and much of our time was spent supporting Daniel Ortega in his efforts to overthrow the unjust Somoza regime. How ironic that he should now turn against his own people. After Silvio’s ordination he was asked to lecture in Rome at our Discalced Carmelite Pontifical College. It was there in 2003 that I renewed my friendship with him. He was subsequently made auxiliar Bishop of Managua.

Bishop Baez has refused to be cowed by the attack and the constant threats. I know the experience frightened him, which is why I admire his courage. The people of Nicaragua cannot demonstrate their disapproval, or when the do, the government violently suppresses them. Even the Church has come under attack. The people deserve our support

Yesterday the UN condemned the Nicaraguan government for what it is doing. It is time the rest of the world took note and did something. On Wednesday 5th September we shall be demonstrating outside the Nicaraguan Embassy from 12.00 to 13.00. All the various Nicaraguan rights groups have been contacted. Judging by the response there could be a lot of people there. I hope to take a group from the Church: the Embassy is just up the road from us in Kensington Church Street (Vicarage House, W8 4DB). The idea is to show solidarity with the people of Nicaragua, and put pressure on the government to cease the killings, arrests, torture and rapes. We can be a voice for the voiceless.

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