Nicaraguan Catholic Church raises money anonymously out of fear of reprisals

Cardinal Leopold José Brenes announced that a total of $61,836.65 and C$1,454,305.58 córdobas was raised for victims of hurricanes Eta and Iota that struck Nicaragua between November 3rd and 16th. Official figures indicate that 3 million people were exposed to the effects of both hurricanes, approximately 46% of the population. And that, the damages and losses caused add up to approximately $ 738.6 million.

In his Sunday homily, broadcasted by the Catholic media from his home in Managua, Cardenal Brenes asked the faithful for “generosity without much propaganda, humble and simple, without seeking any recognition”. Despite the covid-19 restriction, many people visited parishes to make donations. In Managua, parishioners could donate directly from their car to limit the risk of spreading the virus, but also to make sure that they could not be seen by the police.

Cardinal Brenes had advised making donations anonymously out of fear of reprisals from the police. The statement from the cardinal is linked to multiple previous reports of alleged threats by the Nicaraguan police against those who collected aid for the victims. In Nicaragua, the Catholic church has received many threats and faced several harassments by state actors and supporters of President Ortega over the last months.

Image: Maynor Valenzuela/Getty Images

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