Source: Robert Besser

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican has protested the expulsion of its ambassador to Nicaragua, stressing that the unilateral action was unjustified.

Ambassador to Mangua since 2018, Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag had to leave the country this week after the government of President Daniel Ortega withdrew its diplomatic approval of the envoy.

The Central American country’s slide away from democracy has been criticized by 54-year-old Sommertag, who is Polish.

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In a statement, the Vatican said, “The Holy See is convinced that such a grave, unjustified and unilateral measure does not reflect the sentiments of the Nicaraguan people, who are profoundly Christian.”

In what diplomats considered a retaliation for comments made by the local church leadership criticizing the government, Ortega stripped Sommertag of his title and role as dean of the diplomatic corp in November.

In many majority Catholic countries, the dean’s position is held automatically by the Vatican envoy, known as a nuncio, regardless of how long he has been in the country.

Sommertag has openly supported the local church in its defending democracy in the country.

Former Marxist guerrilla leader Ortega, who has held office since 2007, won a fourth consecutive term in November after jailing political rivals ahead of elections.

Before the elections, Nicaragua’s Catholic bishops conference issued a statement that stressed that the country was lacking “the basic and indispensable conditions in order to hold free, fair and transparent.” elections.”

The archdiocese of Managua also denounced threats to the Catholic Church and offenses against its priests and bishops, and what it called the systematic violation of the nation’s political and constitutional rights.