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Nicaragua banned a Jesuit religious order from operating in the country, the latest move by President Daniel Ortega against the Catholic Church and opposition figures, the Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, officials said the Catholic order, known as the Society of Jesus, had failed to comply with tax reporting regulations, and ordered the confiscation of all its property.
The order condemned the measures, which came a week after the government confiscated the Jesuit-run University of Central America in Nicaragua, saying it was a “center of terrorism.”
The educational institution was a hub for the 2018 mass protests against the Ortega administration.
The government’s actions highlight the ongoing conflict between Ortega and the Catholic Church over the latter’s involvement in the 2018 demonstrations: The Catholic Church gave shelter to protesters and later tried to act as a mediator between the government and the political opposition.
But the president said those protests were an attempted coup with foreign backing. Nicaraguan authorities have since launched a crackdown against Church-affiliated groups and other non-governmental organizations.
Last year, Nicaragua expelled two congregations of nuns, one of which was part of the Missionaries of Charity order established by Mother Teresa.
In April, the Vatican shuttered its embassy in Nicaragua after the government suggested suspending diplomatic ties.
Two months later, the Nicaraguan government seized properties owned by 222 opposition figures. The individuals had already been imprisoned by Ortega’s regime and were then forced into exile.