Response From The Junta Of The National Reconstruction Government
On February 22, 1982, the Junta of National Reconstruction issued a communiqué in response to that issued by the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua. The following are excerpts from the Government communiqué that summarize its main points.
…The (Bishops´) communiqué… was made public without the Conference´s making use of the official channels of communication which were established by mutual agreement between the Bishops and the Government Junta…
On February 16 and 18, the Government Junta invited the Bishops to visit the resettlement areas where the Miskitu communities have been relocated – an invitation to which they did not respond…
The document… was published at such a time that it undermines the climate of national unity which the government has been consolidating through distinct actions. These include the discussion of a Law of Political Parties in the Council of State, the freeing of the COSEP leaders, and the promulgation of an Incentive Plan for national producers.
The document contains elements of the same aggressive political line that the United States government has been applying against our revolution. It comes at a time in which plans which include intervention and a blockade are being discussed at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
The Bishops… do not point out that many who went to Honduras are incorporated into military camps and are participating in armed invasions in San Carlos, Río Coco, Esquipulas, Leimus, Raiti, Bilwaskarma and other towns. These invasions have cost the lives of more than 60 Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, both military and civilian. Certainly not all who crossed the river are counterrevolutionary but it is important to note that armed groups of these criminals forced entire communities to leave the country by crossing the Río Coco.
The Bishops do not mention or condemn the climate of terror that has been created in the area by the terrorist action of the Somocista ex-guardias, nor do they mention that these communities were suffering hunger and illness because the counterrevolutionaries would not allow food or medicine to be brought up the river, the only means of transportation.
In their communiqué, the Bishops speak of grave violations of human rights, a serious assertion that we emphatically reject… Various international human rights commissions have affirmed that, since the revolutionary triumph, abuse, mistreatment and systematic torture have been definitively eradicated from Nicaragua; and that when isolated incidents of abuses have occurred, those responsible have been severely sanctioned by our civil and military tribunals.
It is evident that it would have been impossible to evacuate several thousand people without their consent.
The Bishops do not say a single word about the criminal participation, duly proven, of Moravian pastors and Catholic deacons in propaganda, logistical support and armed counterrevolutionary activities.
Neither do they mention the terrorist counterrevolutionary activities which have their base in Honduras and which have been developing with foreign help. It is precisely these activities which obliged the government to take evacuation measures.
On February 19, the Government Junta called in Monsignor Andrea Cordero Lanza de Montezemolo, Apostolic Nuncio, for a meeting to inform him of these views and concerns. He was also told that the Government Junta wants a Vatican mission to come to the country soon to discuss with the revolutionary Government the future of its overall relations with the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Finally, the Government Junta of National Reconstruction repeats its profound respect for the religious beliefs of the Nicaraguan people and its commitment to guarantee the utmost freedom of worship in the country. These principles are contained in the Fundamental Statutes and in the Statute of the Rights and Guarantees of Nicaraguans as well as in the Declaration on Religion included in the Statement on Religion published in October 1980 by the Frente Sandinista of National Liberation.
Secretary General, Junta of the Government of
National Reconstruction, February 22, 1982