Imprisoned Nicaraguan Bishop Álvarez appears in video posted by dictatorship
Catholic News Agency
El 19 Digital, a news media outlet supportive of the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, posted a video of Bishop Rolando Álvarez in which he shares a few comments about how he is doing. The video shows him sharing a meal with his brother and sister during their visit to the prison.
The prelate was sentenced Feb. 10 to 26 years and four months in prison, on charges of being a “traitor to the homeland.” Despite the efforts of relatives to determine where he was being held since his conviction, his whereabouts were unknown until March 25.
When asked about how he is doing by an off-camera interviewer, the bishop of Matagalpa replied: “Thanks be to God I’m well, with a lot of inner strength, with a lot of peace in the Lord and the Most Holy Virgin.”
Commenting on the visit he had with his siblings, Álvarez said that they “talked, had very tasty food here with a little meal that our friends from the penitentiary system graciously and kindly provided us.”
The news media also posted photos on its website of the visit in a story titled “Bishop Rolando Álvarez receives a visit from his siblings.”
The brief text only says: “Images of the visit and family meeting that Bishop Rolando Álvarez held with his siblings, Vilma and Manuel Antonio Álvarez Lagos, this afternoon in the Jorge Navarro de Tipitapa National Penitentiary System.” The prison is known as La Modelo.
A number of human rights violations are known to be committed in that prison such as overcrowding, lack of medical attention, prison staff assaulting the inmates, detention of family members who come to visit, and serving food mixed with detergent.
After thanking the competent authorities and the prison for having received good treatment, Álvarez joked about his current state. “Do I look good, healthy, and how does my face look?”
Wearing his prisoner’s uniform and visibly thinner, the Nicaraguan bishop also thanked “the Most Holy Virgin because today, the Annunciation of the angel to the Mother so that with her yes the Word would become flesh and dwell among us for our salvation and redemption, because on her day my siblings have been able to come to see me.”
“The Mother protects us and always covers us all with the same maternal love,” Álvarez concluded in the video, his first recorded words since his conviction, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
The prelate had refused to be deported to the United States Feb. 9 along with 222 other political prisoners, including priests and seminarians, preferring to stay with the 37 other political prisoners who remain in Nicaraguan jails.
In a recent congressional hearing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured that he is following Álvarez’s case and said that he must be released.