Nicaragua's Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter calling on local politicians to fight corruption caused by an inordinate desire for power, and to instead work to help democracy flourish.
The bishops warned that political life in the country today “is dominated by an autocratic and abusive style of exercising authority,” seen in the “concentration of power and the excessive desire to hold on to it and remain in it.”
The document was released by the secretary general of the conference, Bishop Silvio Baez, at the conclusion of the bishops' meeting on Sept. 26. It details their concern over the country’s current political situation as local elections draw near on Nov. 4.
“Jesus condemns this way of understanding and exercising authority in society, as it creates a permanent environment of confrontation over the search the power or holding on to it at all costs, giving way to authoritarianism, strongman politics, the manipulation of consciences, corruption, injustice, lawlessness and violence,” the bishops said.
The upcoming local elections “are an appropriate occasion to reflect on the manner which power is exercised and politics is practiced” today in Nicaragua, they added.
This requires serious consideration of the different proposals candidates are making and voting for the ones that are best and most appropriate for the common good of their communities,” the bishops stated.
They also criticized opposition leaders for in-fighting and negative criticism, which is aimed more at seeking power and personal ambition than at strengthening democracy.
“These parties are unable to understand the feelings of the people, they don’t rotate out their leaders and they don’t offer clear, alternative political strategies that lead to a plan forward for the nation,” the bishops said.
Nicaragua’s political system is in desperate need of an overhaul, they added, so that it is no longer seen as something for personal gain.