Latin American Catholic college organization condemns seizure of Nicaraguan Jesuit university

Facade of the Central American University (UCA), before being expropriated by the Ortega dictatorship. / Credit: Courtesy Jesuits of Central America

ACI Prensa Staff, Aug 28, 2023 / 16:15 pm (CNA).

The Organization of Catholic Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (ODUCAL), with a membership of 116 institutions of higher education, expressed its solidarity with the Jesuits of Nicaragua following the expropriation of the Central American University (UCA) by the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, earlier this month.

In a recent statement, ODUCAL expressed its “deep concern over the siege, the confiscation of assets, and the closure suffered by the Central American University located in Managua” and its “solidarity with its educational community.”

The organization also demanded that “the drastic, abrupt, and unjust measures adopted by the Nicaraguan [court] against Catholic university educational institutions be reversed and corrected immediately.”

The academic association also called for “an end to the growing aggression affecting the Nicaraguan university system and its members” and that “a rational solution be sought in which truth, justice, dialogue, and the defense of academic freedom prevail.”

Two weeks ago, the Ortega regime expropriated the UCA as well as Villa Carmen (the residence of six elderly Jesuits), canceled the legal personhood of the order, and transferred all its property and assets to the state.

Following the takeover by the regime of the UCA, thousands of students found themselves at a crossroads, facing uncertainty about their academic future and how their grades and paperwork will be handled.

In its statement, ODUCAL noted that “the UCA is a Catholic institution of the Society of Jesus with more than 60 years of history that has made a great contribution through its teaching, research, and enormous public advocacy, insistently and courageously seeking peace and justice in Nicaragua.”

ODUCAL expressed its solidarity with the Nicaraguan people and said: “We renew our defense of human rights and peace at a time when our peoples are experiencing, in many places, serious restrictions on freedoms and where democracy is threatened in various ways.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.