MEXICO CITY – Nicaragua’s authorities has confiscated a prestigious Jesuit-run college alleging it was a “center of terrorism,” the faculty stated Wednesday in asserting the newest in a collection of actions by authorities towards the Catholic Church and opposition figures.

The College of Central America in Nicaragua, which was a hub for 2018 protests towards the regime of President Daniel Ortega, referred to as the terrorism accusation unfounded and the seizure a blow to academia in Nicaragua.

The federal government didn’t affirm the confiscation or touch upon the Jesuits’ assertion.

The Jesuit order, often known as the Society of Jesus, stated it acquired a judicial order Tuesday notifying it of the confiscation. It stated the federal government seized all of the college’s property, buildings and financial institution accounts.

“With this confiscation, the Ortega government has buried freedom of thought in Nicaragua,” stated María Asunción Moreno, who was a professor on the college till she was pressured into exile in 2021.

The order quoted the federal government as claiming the college “operated as a center of terrorism.”

“This is a government policy that systematically violates human rights and appears to be aimed at consolidating a totalitarian state,” the Society of Jesus of Central America stated in a press release.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A. Nichols, stated in a tweet that the seizure of the college “represents further erosion of democratic norms and a stifling of civic space by Ortega-Murillo,” referring to vp and first woman Rosario Murillo.

The college, often known as the UCA, has been one of many area’s most extremely regarded faculties It has two massive campuses with 5 auditoriums, engineering laboratories, a enterprise innovation heart, a library with greater than 160,000 books in Spanish and English, a molecular biology heart and facilites for 11 sports activities. Of the 200,000 college college students in Nicaragua, an estimated 8,000 attend UCA.

Based 63 years in the past, UCA additionally homes the Institute of Historical past of Nicaragua and Central America, which is taken into account the principle documentation and reminiscence heart within the nation, geared up with its personal library, a newspaper library and worthwhile photographic archives.

The college’s seizure “represents further erosion of democratic norms and a stifling of civic space by Ortega-Murillo,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A. Nichols, stated in a tweet, referring to vp and first woman Rosario Murillo.

Since December 2021, no less than 26 Nicaraguan universities have been closed and their belongings seized by order of the Ortega authorities with an identical process. Seven of these have been overseas establishments.

In April, the Vatican closed its embassy in Nicaragua after the nation’s authorities proposed suspending diplomatic relations.

Two congregations of nuns, together with from the Missionaries of Charity order based by Mom Teresa, have been expelled from Nicaragua final yr.

The expulsions, closures and confiscations haven’t simply focused the church. Nicaragua has outlawed or closed greater than 3,000 civic teams and non-governmental organizations.

In Could, the federal government ordered the Nicaraguan Pink Cross shut down, accusing it of “attacks on peace and stability” throughout antigovernment demonstrations in 2018. The native Pink Cross says it simply helped deal with injured protesters through the protests.

In June, the federal government confiscated properties belonging to 222 opposition figures who have been pressured into exile in February after being imprisoned by Ortega’s regime.

These taken from jail and compelled aboard a flight to the USA on Feb. 9 included seven presidential hopefuls barred from working within the 2021 election, legal professionals, rights activists, journalists and former members of the Sandinista guerrilla motion.

Hundreds have fled into exile since Nicaraguan safety forces violently put down mass antigovernment protests in 2018. Ortega says the protests have been an tried coup with overseas backing, aiming for his overthrow.

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