Denver Newsroom, 11 April, 2023 / 12:00 pm (ACI Africa).
Father Donaciano Alarcón, a Claretian missionary expelled from Nicaragua by the dictatorship, described how the authorities leveled unfounded accusations against him, took him to the border with Honduras, and abandoned him to his fate.
“They put me in a patrol car with two police officers and took me to the border. They made me cross and told me that I was now outside of the country and I couldn’t return anymore,” Alarcón told Radio Hogar of the Archdiocese of Panama.
Currently, the Panamanian priest is safe in the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras after being arrested by the regime’s police on April 3, Monday of Holy Week, at the end of the chrism Mass.
The missionary worked in the Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in the town of San José de Cusmapa in the Diocese of Estelí.
Father Ismael Montero Toyos, the provincial superior of the Claretians in Central America, told Radio Hogar that Alarcón “had been followed for days prior” and on April 3, taking advantage of the fact that “he had come from Mass and was not at his home, they arrested him and sent him to the border with Honduras.”
“Thank God we have people there we know and he slept well in San Marcos de Colón and traveled to San Pedro de Sula, where we have another community of Claretian missionaries. He is physically fine, but the situation is a bit difficult because they took him away without prior notice,” Montero explained.
According to a report released April 7 by the nongovernmental organization Blue and White Monitoring (the colors of the Nicaraguan flag) at least 15 Nicaraguans, mostly opponents of the regime and faithful Catholics as well as a journalist, were arrested in Nicaragua by the police during Holy Week.
Alarcón said that the priests have “been in an uncomfortable situation because they can’t talk about anything.”
The Claretian priest assured that he has never talked “about politics” because he has no interest in it, but “I don’t hold back from talking about the issue of justice at Mass on Sundays.”
The Panamanian priest denied some accounts that say he was expelled for holding an outdoor procession or Stations of the Cross, expressions of popular piety prohibited by the Daniel Ortega dictatorship in February of this year.