April 23, 2018 — In response to ongoing protests in Nicaragua
and the senseless killing of a Jesuit high school student there, the Jesuits of
Central America, the Conference of Provincials of Latin America and the Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. released statements calling
for an end to violence in the country after several days of protests to proposed
social security legislation.
Citizens began protesting April 18 after the government
announced changes to the nation’s social security system. The proposed
overhaul, which would have increased pension contributions while reducing
benefits by 5 percent, was canceled by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on
April 22 in response to the protests.
The protests led to the deaths of more than two dozen people. Ãlvaro Manuel Conrado Davila, a 15-year-old student at Instituto
Loyola, the Jesuit High School in Managua, Nicaragua, was among the victims
killed while peacefully protesting on April 20.
Mourners at Ãlvaro Manuel Conrado Davila’s funeral. (photo: Ingrid Orozco)
According to reports, Conrado was shot by police with a
rubber bullet that struck him at close range in the throat, and he died later
while undergoing surgery at a local hospital. The Instituto Loyola community
gathered for Conrado’s funeral on April 21, which was attended by an approximately
The Conference of Provincials of Latin America said in its statement, “We profoundly lament the acts
of violence against the people who gathered in a peaceful manner to oppose the
social security reform. We condemn as anti-democratic all the violent
repression on the part of state agencies and individuals and groups organized
by the government.”
The Jesuits of Central America called for a national dialogue that will "peacefully lead
in a direction of integral development and social and environmental justice."
Ãlvaro Manuel Conrado Davila’s funeral on April 21. (photo: Ingrid Orozco)
The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. released a statement saying they “stand in solidarity with our brother Jesuits, their lay collaborators and all the people they serve in Nicaragua.
“We pray for peace in the country and hope that all sides
will engage in truthful dialogue. We pray for calm between all of the parties
and we remind government leaders of their responsibility to protect those who
have lawfully gathered to seek redress from their government.”
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) also issued a statement, which expressed solidarity with "our Jesuit sister institution, the University of Central America (UCA) of Nicaragua, which calls its students to peaceful advocacy for social justice, even as government violence at the University’s gates suppresses dissent.
"The UCA of Nicaragua, like all Jesuit institutions, has the mission to both provide students with professional formation and to encourage their commitment to a just, humane and environmentally sustainable world." AJCU urged the government to respect the constitutional rights of its citizens, including freedom of expression and peaceful protest.
the country. “I express my closeness in prayer to that country and I am united
with the bishops in asking that every form of violence end, that a pointless
shedding of blood be avoided and that open issues be resolved peacefully and
with a sense of responsibility,” he said on April 22.
Read the statements by the Jesuits of Central America; the Conference
of Provincials of Latin America; and the Jesuits of
Canada and the U.S. [Sources: Catholic
News Service, Ignatian