Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) is calling on the State Department to add the Sandinistas to the department’s blacklist. Rep. Salazar sent a letter to the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain. In the letter, Salazar outlines why the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSNL) should be added to the Entities of Particular Concern List for committing violations of religious freedom.
As the Chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Salazar has directed choice words to the Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua, taking issue with the communist regime’s stance against Catholics in the country.
According to a press release from Salazar’s office, information is shared regarding the Sandinista’s longstanding acts of religious intolerance and persecution, which began in the 1980s when threats were made against Nicaragua’s Jewish community, which entailed firebombings and the desecration of its only synagogue.
The press release argues that the Ortega-Murillo regime is responsible for some of the most reprehensible human rights abuses against Catholics in Latin America. It’s estimated that about three-quarters of Nicaraguans are members of the Catholic Church, and the country has registered more than 5 million members.
Since anti-regime protests grew in 2018, there have been over 400 attacks on the Catholic Church.
In a statement, Salazar slammed the Sandinistas, saying that “the Frente Sandinista is the political arm of the bloody Ortega-Murillo regime, and its crimes against the Catholic faith can no longer go unpunished.” “The atrocities of the Frente Sandinista against Catholics in Nicaragua are well documented,” she added, calling on the State Department “to add the Sandinistas to the Entities of Particular Concern List – now!”
In August, the Ortega-Murillo regime expelled Nicaragua’s Jesuit order and the Jesuit-affiliated Central American University. The regime has also arrested several religious leaders, and it has shut down Catholic radion stations and public religious ceremonies.