The bishops of Nicaragua have asked the faithful to pray for the dialogue begun Wednesday between the government of President Daniel Ortega and the opposition Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

In a message posted on social media, Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of Managua asked the faithful to pray “so that we can make a sincere effort to authentically work for the common good, declining all selfish  and sectarian interests, in the search for new horizons for Nicaragua.”

These horizons, he indicated, must be founded “on respect for human rights, promoting a culture of dialogue and understanding. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.”

On Facebook, the Nicaraguan bishops’ conference joined this intention of Cardinal Brenes to the “ ‘Let us Pray Together’ campaign.’” In addition, they asked Mary Immaculate to intercede for the country.

On Twitter, Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez Ortega of Managua stated Feb. 27 his “prayers for Nicaragua at the start of negotiations today.”

“Let personal and ideological interests be renounced and economics never be put before human rights. Let everything be transparent, with all political prisoners released and with public freedoms restored,” he added.

Attending the start of the talks as witnesses were Cardinal Brenes and the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.

However, the newspaper La Prensa de Nicaragua reported that the government vetoed the participation of Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa at the talks.  The opposition is demanding that the prelate be present.

The renewal of talks is taking place after almost eight months since the first attempt at dialogue. However, in order for the Feb. 27 meeting to take place, the opposition demanded that the regime release the political prisoners and demonstrators arrested during the protests that began in April 2018.

According to the opposition those in detention number more than 700. However, fewer than 150 were released and moved to house arrest Feb. 27. The government has not said if in the coming days more people would be released from prison.

Read more at Catholic News Agency. 

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