Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, has been awarded the Charisma award by the Spanish Conference of Religious (CONFER) in Madrid for his work in building communities from justice, peace, and solidarity. However, Alvarez was unable to attend the award ceremony as he is currently imprisoned in Nicaragua under the regime of Daniel Ortega.
Monsignor Silvio José Báez, the auxiliary bishop of Managua, accepted the award on behalf of Alvarez and spoke out against the unjust 26-year prison sentence imposed by the Nicaraguan government. Báez, who is in forced exile due to political reasons, denounced the oppressive regime of Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, stating that “Nicaragua has been turned into a large prison” under their rule.
Alvarez, born in Managua in 1966, has been a vocal critic of the Ortega government, speaking out against human rights abuses, corruption, and repression of dissent. His arrest in August 2022 and subsequent sentencing have drawn international condemnation, with the United States and the United Nations Human Rights Committee calling for his release and respect for his freedom of expression.
The political and social crisis in Nicaragua has worsened following the controversial general elections of November 2021, which saw Ortega re-elected for a fifth term. His main contenders were imprisoned, further exacerbating the situation in the country.
Alvarez’s imprisonment has become a symbol of the fight for democracy and justice in Nicaragua, with the international community standing in solidarity with him. Despite being unable to accept the Charisma award in person, Alvarez’s commitment to his beliefs and his country has not gone unnoticed.