The Panamanian archbishopric said on Friday that the Church in Nicaragua, a country where hundreds of people were killed in the context of anti-government protests, announced its withdrawal from an event prior to the World Youth Day (WYD) to be held in Panama in January.
In a two-paragraph statement entitled "Nicaragua at the heart of WYD," the archbishopric of Panama said the Nicaraguan Church had announced its "withdrawal to hold the 'Days in the Dioceses' of World Youth Day, an international event whose headquarters has been assumed in the Central American region".
"Therefore, we encourage pilgrims to live this experience of 'Days in the Dioceses' in Costa Rica and Panama, where they are preparing to welcome and share with you during this time prior to World Youth Day, and it is one of the riches that marks the youth life in a special way".
The Panamanian archbishopric did not provide details on the dates of the event or what "Days in the Dioceses" consists of.
The Nicaraguan Episcopate acts as mediator of a dialogue table between the great civic alliance that calls for the ouster of President Daniel Ortega and his Government, which was installed in mid-May but has been suspended since the end of June.
Ortega has lashed out against Nicaraguan bishops, who have already been subject to physical attacks by pro-government groups, and has called them coup leaders for having proposed the advance to March 2019 of the elections scheduled for 2021 in Nicaragua.
The social revolt, which has killed between 295 and 448 people, broke out on April 18 due to reforms to social security that Ortega thwarted in an attempt to tackle the crisis, which nevertheless persists fueled precisely by the brutality of the government repression.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has held the Government of Nicaragua responsible for "assassinations, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, possible acts of torture and arbitrary detentions committed against the majority of the country's young population", an opinion supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The government rejects all these accusations and blames "terrorist groups" for attempting a "coup d'état" that would have already been defeated, as the vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, reiterated in the last two weeks.