Priest prevented from returning to Nicaragua: It’s ‘not a crime’ to criticize government

Father Guillermo Blandón, who was prohibited by the Nicaraguan dictatorship led by President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, from returning to the country, said that it’s not a crime to denounce the abuses of the government of the Central American country.

Before he could take the flight from Miami to Nicaragua, the priest was informed that the Nicaraguan government had prohibited him from returning and expressed his surprise, “because returning is a right that I have as a Nicaraguan and I don’t think I’ve committed any crime that would prevent me from returning to my country.”

The 60-year-old priest said that he has “always denounced the injustices, the abuses, like these trials where they don’t allow a lawyer or let a lawyer see the prisoners. That’s unjust and shouldn’t be done.”

Blandón was referring to the political prisoners who are in the El Chipote  prison, which is known to torture opponents of the regime, where several priests are currently being held.

“A prisoner has constitutional rights and the state cannot take them away; they have the right to a lawyer but they’re not allowed to. I have preached this because that’s not right,” the priest told EWTN News.

“Why do certain prisoners have all their rights taken away? What crime did they commit? Thinking differently from the government, but that’s not a crime. Instead of being offended, the government should reflect,” Blandón continued.

“They make judgments that have no legal basis; they’re like the doctor who studies in order to cure and procures death,” he lamented.

Blandón said that when the Church announces the Gospel, she assumes her role of being light in the world.

“The Church is a light that continues to illuminate. When we exhort, it’s not filing a lawsuit, but for the government to reflect,” he said.

“The priest preaches the word of God, he applies it so that the people realize what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong, especially if we believe in the Lord.”

“That’s been my life, 29 years of priesthood, preaching, announcing, denouncing sin, what’s wrong, abuses, the manipulation of the holy people of God; like the prophets, who preached the truth and justice of God,” the priest said.

“Those of us who are pastors, the Church, we defend the dignity of the children of God.”

Blandón also told EWTN News that he has already contacted his bishop, Jorge Solórzano, who heads the Diocese of Granada.

“I told him not to expect me; he gave me words of encouragement, he told me to pray, [and told me] ‘We’ll pray for you. These are difficult trials that one must undergo.’ Like a good bishop, he was solicitous,” he recounted.

Now in Miami, the priest is going to see the archbishop and request permission to celebrate the Eucharist “or if they can assign me a parish.”

He will also have to see if the U.S. will grant him asylum.

The priest has received the support of the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Silvio Báez, living in exile in the United States since 2019, and also from several members of the faithful in Nicaragua who have sent him money to support himself.

However, he said, “I’m not bitter, I’m happy because what God allows is to purify us; he doesn’t make mistakes. Peace is not the absence of problems but his presence in the midst of problems.”

“At my age I am starting over again, with the grace and blessing of my Lord,” he concluded.