28 August 2023
UNIJES, the network of Jesuit Universities in Spain, made up of the universities of Deusto, Pontificia Comillas and Loyola, and the higher education centres IQS, ESADE, INEA and SAFA, expresses its solidarity and support to the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, as well as to the university community of the Central American University (UCA) based in Managua in the light of the serious events of the last few days.
We can attest to the high quality academic educational service and social commitment that the UCA has offered to the Nicaraguan people from 1960 to date, which has been widely recognised in that country and beyond. With the UCA in Nicaragua, we have maintained various collaborative projects, both as centres in particular and as a network, always resulting in a very valuable cooperation, which we now see cut short in such an ominous way.
In 2022, the UCA received the Pedro Canisio Medal at Boston College , awarded by the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU), in recognition of its denunciation of the events classified as crimes against humanity by the United Nations Group of Experts on Human Rights in Nicaragua. This has made the UCA the victim of multiple and progressive aggressions since 2018, being continuously slandered and harassed, as well as more than three thousand Nicaraguan civil society organisations. The UCA and the Society of Jesus in Nicaragua have recently had their legal personality cancelled by the country's authorities, with their assets being confiscated, demonstrating that the ruling regime's orientation towards the consolidation of a totalitarian state.
The UCA has been unjustifiably denied certifications to fulfil its mission to educate, research and dialogue with society, as has been the case with 27 other higher education institutions, with the seizure of all their assets on 15 August and the slandering of our sister university as a "centre of terrorism". On 17 August, the National Council of Universities cancelled its authorisation to operate. The Central American Province of the Society of Jesus maintains that the de facto confiscation of the UCA's assets is a reprisal the de facto confiscation of the UCA's assets is a reprisal for the work carried out by this institution towards a fairer society as well as for its commitment to protect the life, truth and freedom of the Nicaraguan people in line with its motto: "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
As UNIJES, we express our full support to the UCA of Nicaragua and to our Jesuit brothers in the country. We join the demands of the Central American Province, the General Curia of the Society of Jesus and Jesuits around the world in calling for the following:
1° The drastic, unexpected and unjust measures taken by the Nicaraguan authorities should be immediately reversed and corrected.
2° An end should be put to the unjustifiable attitude of increasing government aggression against the UCA and the Society of Jesus.
3° A rational solution should be sought in which truth, justice and dialogue prevail.
We are grateful for the courage, commitment and testimony of the UCA university community. We reiterate the solidarity of UNIJES with our sister university and with the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus.
Finally, we join the Society of Jesus in its commitment to the Nicaraguan people to provide quality education for all, inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, an inspiration that sustains our hope that national and international solidarity will engender a renewed Nicaragua and a renewed UCA.
"God has the last word on history and he will also have the last word on Nicaragua". *
Signatories of the Manifesto (28 August 2023):
- Gonzalo Villagrán SJ, interim delegate of UNIJES
- José María Guibert, Rector of the University of Deusto
- Enrique Sanz Giménez-Rico SJ, Rector of Comillas Pontifical University
- Gabriel Pérez Alcalá, Rector of Loyola University
- Salvador Borrós, General Manager of IQS (URL)
- Xavier Mendoza, General Manager of ESADE (URL)
- Félix Revilla SJ, INEA Director
- Consuelo Burgos, Director of SAFA
- Ana García-Mina,UNIJES board member
- Jaime Oraá SJ, UNIJES board member
- Francisco José Ruiz, UNIJES board member
- Enrique López Viguria, Executive Secretary of UNIJES
* Central American Province of the Society of Jesus: In defence of truth, justice, freedom and the right to education and in support of UCA Nicaragua(Press release, 16 August 2023)