By Chuck Kaufman
One of the “smoking guns,” proving the lie of the opposition and media story about the supposedly peaceful, spontaneous uprising against the “tyrant” Daniel Ortega, was revealed with the release on Oct. 23 of a clandestine recording of a Catholic bishop claiming credit for the failed coup.
Members of the Christian Community of Saint John Paul the Apostle church in the 14th of September neighborhood of eastern Managua leaked an audio recording of a meeting Silvio Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, held with peasant leaders for the purpose of destabilizing the government of Nicaragua. The Community members said that Bishop Báez should not be dividing the flock—the people of Nicaragua.
At the meeting Báez used harsh language to disparage everything related to the current government and those who do not support the Civic Alliance. In the conversation he talked about pressuring the government by reinstating the so-called “tranques de la muerte” (death barricades), saying, “We need to pressure the government again so that they ask the Bishop’s Conference to resume the Dialogue. We have been thinking of putting up roadblocks again.”
In part of the conversation Báez added that the Blue and White National Unity (UNAB), a new group founded by the anti-FSLN group, the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), “should include everyone opposed to the government, even if they are suspected of being opportunists, abortionists, homosexuals, drug traffickers… to achieve the final objective…”
The Bishop implicitly confessed the authenticity of the recording on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Baez said, “I wholeheartedly thank those who have sent their thoughts and prayers. My conscience does not bother me before God. With His strength I will stay in Nicaragua performing the ministry the Church has conferred upon me, aware that “the word of God is not chained,” (2 Timothy 2:9). He later explicitly admitted that the recording was authentic when he told Radio La Primerisima reporter Lisbeth Gonzalez, “Of course, I think it was something very private and unfortunately someone recorded.”
According to Radio La Primerisima, the audio recordings, leaked from a meeting in which Báez participated, show what supporters of the FSLN have been saying since the start of the violence in Nicaragua:
- The roadblocks were the Church’s idea
Báez says that “the roadblocks were a wonderful idea,” despite the fact that they were scenes of child rape, extortion, murder, and armed robbery against the Nicaraguan people.
- The bishops acknowledge that they oppose the government
In the recording you can hear Báez saying that “the bishops have backed off a little” because they do not want to the give the government a chance to discredit them, because President Daniel Ortega has exposed them since the 19th of July.
- They are plotting a second wave of violence
The Auxiliary Bishop of Managua said that they were discussing a second “trancadera,” referring to the roadblocks—the sources of violence and destruction of the country’s economy—to force the president of Nicaragua to sit down at the dialogue table and be pressured to move up the elections so that we can “get rid of” the FSLN.”
- They want to execute Daniel Ortega
“We have every desire to take him before a firing squad,” said Báez, referring to Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua. The Church wants to go back to the tactics of the Inquisition to kill in the name of God.
- The Church created the new opposition Alliance against the government
“The Alliance knows that we bishops created it. If the Alliance exists, it is because we created it,” said Báez. He says that he has told members of the Alliance to send a formal letter to the Bishop’s Conference of Nicaragua so that the media can see that “the people” are asking for the Church’s support.
After hearing the compromising recording of Silvio Báez, the community of Saint John Paul the Apostle reported that they would send a petition to the Holy See and the Prior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites asking for Baez to be removed from Nicaragua and return to his regular classes at the Angelicum in Rome for the good of all God’s people.
The community members stated that theirs would be a persistent and just request of the faithful believers. From the Catholic Church they expect to find bishops who are exemplary in their words and praxis of love—and not to be encouraging confrontation among brothers and sisters of the same land, such as Nicaragua, which is blessed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
The leaders of the community stressed that Báez is a politician in priest’s clothing, which is not ideal for a pastor guiding his flock. He has instead divided the flock with his disgraceful behavior, turning himself into a shepherd of wolves. Rafael Valdez from the Saint John Paul the Apostle Christian Community said that in addition to sowing division among brothers, Báez is also harmful to the Church. “We Catholics in this country are divided because we do not feel represented by these bishops, who use the pulpit to incite the population to protest violently,” he said.
Eduardo Valdez said this about Bishop Baez according to an interview with Radio La Primerisima, “Silvio Báez is light years removed from Saint Oscar Romero. Archbishop Romero would have condemned the murder and subsequent desecration of bodies, the tortures and rapes, people’s inability to get to the hospital, and the burning of public buildings from and at the roadblocks. Silvio Báez not only remained silent about this, but he also claims that ‘the roadblocks were a wonderful idea.’ Romero said that ‘at various political moments what matters are the poor people.’ For that reason he raised awareness among social organizations to demand that the oligarchy share the wealth that belongs to the workers. Báez, on the other hand, conspires to allow the oligarchy to retake power, without caring about what consequences this will have for the poor. The wealthy families of El Salvador developed a sick hatred for the Saint. Báez comes from one of those families and they are singing his praises like a chorus. Archbishop Romero asked the U.S. to stop sending weapons to the Salvadoran military. Here Báez is imploring the empire to impose sanctions that will affect the poorest of the poor so that they can overthrow the government. Silvio Báez is not fit to shine Archbishop Romero’s shoes.”
In the recording Bishop Baez can be heard calling President Daniel Ortega an “imbecile” and “stupid.” He calls Foreign Minister Denis Moncada a “pea” referring to his height. And, Báez accuses Daniel Ortega of being uneducated and therefore unqualified to be President of Nicaragua. He adds that the presidents of Bolivia (Evo Morales), Venezuela (Nicolás Maduro), and Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega) “are three stupid guys.”
The second, undated, recording of a conversation Báez had with a group of supporters was released by church members on Oct. 24. It reveals Báez’ pride that the United States is supporting the plan to overthrow the constitutional government of President Ortega. In this regard, Báez announced that more measures are coming from the US government against Nicaragua and that he hopes that these measures will also affect the Nicaraguan Army.
Listen to the second part of the recording leaked by the Saint Paul the Apostle Christian Community.
[Information used to write this NicaNotes blog was obtained from English translations of Radio La Primerisima broadcasts on October 23, 24, 25, 2018]
By Nan McCurdy
More than 4000 Tourists Arrive via Cruise Ships
Almost 4,200 tourists arrived last week aboard the Norwegian Pearl and Valendam cruise ships, which docked in the beautiful port of San Juan del Sur and the busy port of Corinto. The group that docked in San Juan del Sur toured the colonial city of Granada, the Masaya Volcano Park and saw the amazing view from Catarina; and in Rivas, the Amayo hacienda. The Tourists that arrived at the Corinto port visited El Viejo, Chinandega y and the colonial city of León. https://nuevaya.com.ni/mas-de-4-mil-turistas-llegaron-a-nicaraguasiemprelinda-a-bordo-de-dos-cruceros/ (Tu Nueva Radio Ya, 10/27/18)
Nicaragua Uses More Solar Energy
Solar roofing and the installation of solar panels in Nicaragua in both public and private entities is impressive. One of the companies that stands out in this area is ECAMI, which has installed solar roofs the buildings of several companies, supermarkets and hotels. It is highlighted in the XXI Clean Energy report which notes that the construction of a 1.2 MW solar system at the headquarters of the Beer Company of Nicaragua (CCN) in Managua is the largest solar roof in the country, with 3,600 photovoltaic panels and an electric power generating capacity equivalent to the energy consumption of 1,500 homes. (Informe Pastran 10/26/18)
Right-wing Commentator Jaime Arellano Talks about Violent Role of the MRS
Jaime Arellano, an opposition member with a TV show on the biggest opposition TV station – 100% Noticias, revealed the conflicts and deep contradictions within the leadership of the “Civic Alliance,” the alliance behind the coup, where he says excessive desires for power stand out. For Arellano, within that political group there is a clear abuse of power. “They all abuse power and one organization has divided into 6 or 7 organizations so that each can be a boss.” The Civic Alliance for Democracy, “chose two delegates to represent it in the new Blue and White Unity (The new alliance with a different name where they try to distance themselves from their previous actions), but no one knows who chose them,” he said.
Arellano said that in the last meeting Ana Quiroz asked for the floor, requesting that she be accredited from one group the Dissenting Association of Lesbians. But he recalled that two weeks ago Quiroz had arrived with other groups, namely the Feminist Movement, the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), and other Civil Society organizations that have taken over the new Blue and White Unity alliance. Arellano added that, “There are some out there who have already forgotten that the MRS killed, murdered, blackmailed, and did everything for which we are now suffering. They were part of it, and now they act like they have the moral authority to tell everyone what to do.” (Audio of Jaime Arellano, 19 Digital, 10/25/18)
Terrorists Who Kidnapped, Tortured, and Shot Student Leader Leonel Morales Arrested
Five people accused of torturing and causing very serious injuries to the president of the Student Union for the UPOLI University (UNEN-UPOLI), Leonel Morales, have been arrested. On June 13, 2018 in Las Americas No. 1, which is near the University, the subjects, along with other armed offenders aboard motorcycles, abducted Leonel from inside his girlfriend’s home and tortured him at opposition roadblocks. Later, they shot him three times and left him for dead in a river bed, but against all odds he survived. (Tu Nueva Radio Ya, 10/24/18)
United States Defends the Catholic Church
Following leaked audio tapes of Bishop Baez’ astounding admissions of Catholic Church involvement in the violent coup attempt from April to July, US State Department Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback, said that “the situation of the Catholic clergy in Nicaragua is not acceptable” and that the “Church should be protected, not targeted.” Brownback made those statements in a press conference, in which he positioned himself on the situation of religion in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela. Brownback stated, “That is not an acceptable situation for religious freedom. It seems that there are people, a number of individuals, shooting at churches, persecuting churches. We do not agree with that treatment, the Church should be protected, not targeted” he added. (Informe Pastran 10/26/18)
More support for basic services
The President of the Nicaragua Sewer and Aqueduct Company (ENACAL), Ervin Barreda, said the government is investing more than US $ 3 million dollars in water and sanitation projects in Managua. “This investment includes the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant in Managua and the modernization of the potable water system in Tipitapa and Ciudad Sandino Municipalities”, Barreda said. (Nicaragua News, 10/29/18)
Strong financial stability
The Nicaragua Central Bank reported that Gross International Reserves (GIR) reached US$2.3 billion dollars last September, equivalent to 2.7 times the monetary base of the country. The report states that this level of reserve is sound and ensures financial stability in Nicaragua. (Nicaragua News, 10/29/18)
Firmly against money laundering and terrorism
The Director of the Nicaragua Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) Denis Membreño said Nicaragua is firmly committed to the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “Nicaragua has been complying with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The new Financial Analysis Unit Law (ACT 976) and the Anti-Money Laundering Law (ACT 977) seeks to strengthen the institution, its attributions, faculties and functioning to protect the economy and integrity of the Nicaragua Financial System against internal and external threats”, Membreño said. (Nicaragua News, 10/30/18)
Growth in Free Zone exports
In a report published last Monday, the Nicaragua Central Bank stated that Free Zone exports totaled US $ 1.9 billion dollars during the first 8 months of this year, 10.1% above the amount registered in the same period of 2017. Products such as footwear, cardboard, fruits, seafood and honey were the main drivers of this growth in exports. (Nicaragua News, 10/30/18)
More formal employment
The representative of U.S. company BWA Textiles, Fernando Herradon, said the firm is pleased with the results of its first year of operation in Nicaragua and is projecting to increase investments in the country. “We have had great success with our plant in Carazo Department which has created 2,500 formal jobs and the goal is to create one thousand new formal jobs next year”, Herradon said. (Nicaragua News, 10/30/18)