Response By The Ministry Of The Interior
With relation to the communiqué published by the Episcopal Conference, the public relations office of the Ministry of the Interior clarifies the following to the Nicaraguan people:
1- That the North American religious mentioned in the communiqué of the Episcopal Conference were in fact invited to leave our country.
2- That in recent days, the bishops of Bluefields, Estelí, and Matagalpa, as well as the superior of the Capuchins, met with Comandante Tomás Borge, Minister of the Interior, who expressed to them that the departure of the North American priests occurred because of a mistake and on that occasion he asked the corresponding ecclesiastical authorities to request the North American religious to return to the country.
3- That there was an agreement by the bishops, the Capuchin superior and Comandante Tomás Borge not to make the lamentable incident public, since the Revolutionary Government wished to make a positive response to the problem and to prevent this matter from being manipulated by those who constantly utilize religion as a means of confrontation with the revolution.
4-That the North American religious were asked to leave the country because of their attitude, which was neither very evangelical nor very Christian and which promoted hatred for the Revolutionary Government in the Misquito population and promoted in the consciousness of the residents objectively counterrevolutionary positions and attitudes that tended to divide the Atlantic Coast from the rest of the national territory. Nevertheless, because of the policies of the Revolution, the measure adopted by middle-level authorities of the Ministry of the Interior was not considered correct.
5-That in spite of the fact that the agreement not to make this matter public was violated, this Ministry believes firmly that the attitude of the North American religious was not altogether correct, either within the mark of their religious obligations or with respect to their obligation as foreigners not to participate in the internal politics of our country, especially given the dramatic situation that now exists in Northern Zelaya, where in recent days more than thirty compañeros have been assassinated by armed counter-revolutionary bands. The Ministry of the Interior repeats the offer of Comandante Borge that the North American religious, who for the previously expressed reasons left the country, can return to Nicaragua.
Department of Public and Foreign Relations, Ministry of the Interior Managua, January 23, 1982.