Miguel Obando y Bravo (born 2 February 1926) is a Nicaraguan prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the Archbishop of Managua from 1985 until his resignation on 12 March 2005. On 25 May 1985, he was selected by Pope John Paul II to be the only cardinal in Central America. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.


Somoza regime

Obando was a crucial figure in Nicaraguan politics. He became a vocal opponent of the corruption of the Anastasio Somoza regime in the late 1970s by expressing criticism in his pastoral letters as well as through the columns he wrote for the Boletín de la Arquidiócesis de Managua. He was critical of the corruption of the regime as it manifested itself through the government’s mismanagement of relief funds after the 1972 Managua Earthquake, and became an outspoken critic of the human rights abuses carried out by the National Guard. The Archbishop helped to delegitimize the regime by refusing to accept the Mercedes automobile Somoza gave him and rejecting invitations to attend official state ceremonies.

Sandinistas in opposition

Obando served as an intermediary between the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and the Somoza government on two occasions during Sandinista staged hostage-taking incidents. In a pastoral letter written in June 1979 the Archbishop spoke in favor of the Sandinistas' use of armed force to overthrow the Somoza regime and encouraged Nicaraguans not to fear socialism. As a result of his criticism of the Somoza regime, the Archbishop was often referred to by the government as “Comandante Miguel” (painting him as a Sandinista leader).

Sandinistas in power

The Archbishop’s relationship with the Sandinistas altered dramatically by the early 1980s; he ultimately became one of the most vocal domestic opponents of the revolutionary government.

He opposed the "people's church" (radical clergy who supported liberation theology), and banned the Misa Campesina Nicaragüense (Nicaraguan peasants' {{Mass (liturgy)|mass]]). He insisted on the canonical obligation of the clergy to refuse to undertake the exercise of civil power.[1] Thus, the Jesuit priest Fernando Cardenal (a brother of the poet priest Ernesto Cardenal), who refused to resign from his position as Minister of Education in the Sandinista government, was expelled from his order in 1984.[2]

Obando opposed what he called the "godless communism" of the Sandinistas. He criticized many of their policies, including military conscription, and denounced the human rights abuses committed by the Sandinistas. They complained that he should have attacked US aid to the Contras. Instead he travelled to the United States in January 1986 and declared his support for the Contras thereby encouraging the U.S. Congress to provide them with military aid. The Sandinistas, who already in July 1984 had expelled ten foreign priests who had expressed solidarity with another religious figure who had been accused of being a contrarevolutionary,[2] responded with oppressive measures to this vocal source of opposition.


See also

fi:Miguel Obando y Bravo

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.