"I have already denounced not only the fact of having the phone under control, but also a devious persecution that is being carried out. One cannot talk openly and honestly without being subject to persecution by the authorities," said Catholic Bishop Juan Abelardo Mata Guevara of Esteli, Nicaragua. The churchman is also the President of the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH).
Bishop Mata Guevara's complaint followed the distribution of disinformation about a meeting which took place in Honduras between the ANPDH representatives and leaders of groups opposed to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The bishop was present at the meeting, with the aim of fostering dialogue between the two parties. The ANPDH delegation entered Honduras legally, submitting border controls and to surveillance by military intelligence. While Nicaragua's La Prensa newspaper correctly reported the record of the event, other pro-government media sought to discredit the Church, according to the Fides news service.
In a statement sent to Fides, Bishop Mata Guevara wrote, "If anyone has something against us, it would be normal to call us and ask for official explanations, rather than reaching this situation". He went on to say, "They want to discredit us because they cannot silence the cry of a people, it is a growing discontent. Somehow you have to look for scapegoats to falsely accuse those who truly are the voice of the voiceless".
Bishop Mata Guevara said, regarding the Church's efforts to foster dialogue between contending groups in Nicaragua, "There is the idea of dialogue, but not dialogue to gain profit because they do not want privileges, all of us want to work in peace". He then concluded: "As pastors we cannot see people being killed without doing anything. One cannot be treated like this simply because the population does not agree with the government".
In 2009, Bishop Mata Guevara received an email death threat and was later denounced by President Ortega of serving as an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.