Nicaragua a Cardinal Under Fire

Sandinistas and the church are locked in a clash of wills

Shortly before fleeing into exile in 1979, Nicaraguan Dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle erupted in fury over what he regarded as the complicity of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Sandinista revolution. In particular, said Somoza, Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo of Managua should receive the new title of "Comandante Miguel." In fact, six years of increasingly harsh rule by the Marxist-oriented Sandinistas has brought Obando new prominence--and, indeed, notoriety. In 1985 Pope John Paul II elevated him to the College of Cardinals. He has emerged, in the eyes of Nicaragua's rulers, as their toughest critic. Foreign Minister Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, himself...

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