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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaNicaragua Shuts Down Catholic Radio María Amid NGO Crackdown

Nicaragua Shuts Down Catholic Radio María Amid NGO Crackdown

The Nicaraguan government canceled the legal status of the Catholic station Radio María and 11 other NGOs, whose assets will be seized by the State as has happened with hundreds of civil and religious associations, according to a resolution released this Tuesday.

According to a decision by the Ministry of the Interior, published in the official newspaper La Gaceta, the annulment of Radio María’s registration as an association is due to its failure to “report financial statements” between 2019 and 2023.

Nicaraguan media outlets operating in exile in Costa Rica, such as Confidencial, reported last April that the station’s directors denounced the “unjustified” blocking and freezing of their bank accounts, forcing them to reduce their broadcasting hours.

Nicaragua toughened laws on civil associations and NGOs following protests against President Daniel Ortega’s government in 2018, which left more than 300 dead in three months, according to the UN.

Ortega’s government, which viewed the protests as an attempted coup promoted by Washington, claims that some NGOs financed the protests and that the Catholic Church supported them.

Dozens of priests were detained and forced into exile, and a prestigious Jesuit university was seized. In addition to Radio María, the Ministry of the Interior’s resolution affects other associations, including three evangelical, one cattle ranching, sports, and commercial organizations, due to their “failure to comply with obligations” by “not reporting” their financial statements or detailing their donations for several years.

The closure of these associations occurs within a tightened legal framework for NGOs in Nicaragua, where Ortega’s government has closed about 3,600 since 2018.

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