Dear Seattle University Community,
At Seattle University we denounce the Nicaraguan government’s seizure this week of our sister Jesuit university, the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua and add our voices to the international condemnation of this unjust act that violates fundamental human rights in the country. SU and the UCA have been partners in Jesuit higher education for nearly 25 years, a relationship that was formalized in 2014 and that has generated a broad range of meaningful and mutually enriching educational and scholarly collaborations through SU’s Central American Initiative.
Over the past five years, the UCA has been under threat by the Nicaraguan government given its criticism of the government’s human rights record. Since 2018, the Nicaraguan government, including political leaders, the legislature, the judicial system and other state offices, have conspired to cut state funds to the UCA as well as use legal frameworks and police cordons to intimidate and threaten the university.
This week, the government took the extraordinary step of seizing all of the UCA financial accounts and announcing that all infrastructure, real estate and financial resources were to pass over to the government. The government also formally occupied the university, and the pro-government Council of National Universities (CNU) announced a new name for the university and a new leadership team. These actions by the Nicaraguan government have been condemned by the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, the Association of Jesuit Universities in Latin America, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., and a widening circle of leaders and institutions around the world. We join with these voices to strongly condemn this action and call on the Nicaraguan government to do the following:
Return the UCA to the Society of Jesus and restore its leadership team
Guarantee the safety and wellbeing of all UCA employees and students; and
Seek impartial experts to investigate the claims the Nicaraguan government has leveled against the UCA.
(Among others, statements have been issued by the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits of Canada and the United States and the Association of Jesuit Universities in Latin America.)
We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, and call on the international community to join us.
Eduardo M. Peñalver