Nicaragua’s expulsion of the papal nuncio, Polish Msgr. Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag has reflected ferocious anger by the Vatican who expressed “surprise and pain” over the unfair move.
The Vatican, in a statement, said Nicaragua’s action against Sommertag was “grave and unjustified,” which comes at a time of growing pressure on opposition figures in the Central American nation.
Sommertage had always tried best to promote good relations between Vatican and Nicaraguan authorities, according to the statement, terming his removal “incomprehensible” because Sommertag has worked tirelessly for the good of the church and of the Nicaraguan people.
The Vatican office in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, on Monday said that Sommertag had left the country without notice or explanation on March 6.
There is no immediate statement by the government on Sommertag departure, but his place was taken by the chargé d’ affaires, Msgr. Marcel Mbaye Diouf.
Sommertag arrived in Managua in 2018 in the midst of a wave of protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at least 328 people were killed, and 2,000 more were wounded during the protest.
Hundreds of protesters were also detained and 88,000 others fled into exile.
At the end of last year, relatives of 46 detained opposition figures had asked Sommertag to intercede with Ortega, though nothing came of the effort.
In a November interview with The Associated Press, Sommertag said his office had not received a formal request to intervene, but said it had worked in “favor of the most vulnerable, among those detainees of all categories, including political.”
“I think intercession is more than just and necessary,” Sommertag said, adding “in the end, we know very well that things depend on the government.”
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