Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) de Nicaragua entrance

Amid the civil unrest and government repression in Nicaragua, the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) de Nicaragua, the Jesuit university in the capital city of Managua, experienced an attack by para-police early in the morning of Sunday, May 27. There were no casualties.

Fr. José Alberto Idiáquez, S.J., president of the UCA Managua released a statement denouncing the attack by para-police forces and calling for continued efforts for peace and justice in Nicaragua. The statement was originally published on the university website in Spanish:

The Central America University informs the Nicaraguan citizenry that in the early morning of Sunday, May 27th, exactly at 12:45 AM two Hilux pickup trucks with hooded men in the back of one of them, shot with a one pound mortar at the two security men that watch over the principal entry of the University, the same one that was attacked and destroyed by stones last April 18th. Even though they did not wound or kill our watchmen, the attempt was to do so, because of the amount of gunpowder used and because of how close they were.

The Central American University denounces this cowardly night attack of para-police forces that, sheltered by the impunity that the current misgovernment ensures, come using night hours to threaten and murder innocent civilians in the neighborhoods of the capital and other cities.

The UCA, faithful to its Christian principles, will continue demanding that our people demand: justice for the dozens of people murdered in the massacre of April, that continues in May; and a democracy that ensures all the citizenry of our country true peace and development, today at serious risk because of the irresponsibility of the current misgovernment.

Partners in the region have told the Ignatian Solidarity Network that the mortar used by para-police forces is a metal tube that is approximately 4-inches in diameter and 12 inches long. The user places gunpowder, and sometimes small stones, in it before firing. The use of this type of mortar became well-known in Nicaragua during a student movement in the 1990’s to advocate for proper constitutionally-required of the country’s universities, when students used the handmade weapon to defend themselves from the police.

The attack on the UCA comes approximately five weeks after a student at a Jesuit secondary school was killed by police while peacefully protesting in Managua. On April 20, Álvaro Manuel Conrado Davila, a 15-year-old student at Instituto Loyola Conrado was shot by police with a rubber bullet that struck him at close range in the throat and died later while undergoing surgery at a local hospital.

Jesuit networks throughout Central and South America spoke out against police violence and government repression in the Central American country. Statements were issued at the time by Fr. Roberto Jaramillo, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Latin America, the Association of Jesuit Latin American Universities (AUSJAL), and the Provincial of the Jesuits’ Central American Province who issued a joint statement with the presidents of the Instituto Loyola and the Universidad Centroamericana de Nicaragua.
On May 23, Nicaragua’s bishops announced the suspension of their participation as mediators and witnesses in a national dialogue aimed at resolving the political crisis facing the country, citing a “lack of consensus among the parties” involved.

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