Catholic Bible and Cross
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The Nicaraguan government has canceled the legal status of the Jesuit religious community, apart from ordering the confiscation of all its assets, citing financial irregularities and lack of transparency, the interior ministry announced Wednesday.

The religious group was found to be in violation of transparency laws by failing to present the required financial statements over the last three years, Reuters reported, citing the ministry's announcement in the government's official gazette.

The order of confiscation, which was published Wednesday, added that the Roman Catholic order failed to comply with tax reports, AP News reported.

The specific assets slated for seizure remained uncertain, and the fate of individual Jesuits facing potential expulsion due to the legal cancellation was also unclear.

This comes amid President Daniel Ortega's continuous crackdown on Nicaragua's Catholic Church. The strained relationship between Ortega's government and the church has its roots in several factors, including the religious organization's vocal opposition of President Ortega's administration, coupled with its role in offering sanctuary to protesters during the 2018 anti-government demonstrations.

The Vatican had also closed its embassy in Nicaragua in April after the country suggested suspension of diplomatic relations.

The legal cancellation comes weeks after the government confiscated a prestigious Jesuit-run university in the Central American country, ordering the seizure of its assets and prompting it to suspend classes. Ortega labeled the university a "center of terrorism," further escalating tensions.

The Jesuit order, known as the Society of Jesus of Central America, had earlier released a statement denouncing Ortega's governance as a systematic violation of human rights.

The academic institution, previously a hub for the 2018 protests against Ortega's regime, characterized the seizure as a detrimental blow to academia.

The Nunca Más Nicaragua Human Rights Collective expressed solidarity, condemning the regime's efforts to exert control over educational spaces and labeling the act as a robbery of the university community.

The Nunca Más Nicaragua Human Rights Collective shared their thoughts on the confiscation in a statement through X (formerly known as Twitter), saying they "stand in solidarity with the educational community of the university that since 1960 has trained professionals and influenced the development of #Nicaragua." It further noted the regime has turned the country into a "totalitarian state where at all costs it absolutely wants to control all educational spaces."

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