WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) nominated Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez and Nicaraguan Opposition Leader Félix Maradiaga for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their defense of religious freedom in Nicaragua. The nominations are in response to Nicaraguan Dictator Daniel Ortega’s mounting crackdown on religious liberty, including the arrests and expulsion of dozens of Catholic priests for celebrating mass, the banning of religious orders like the Jesuit order, and the seizing of property.
“For many years Bishop Álvarez and Félix Maradiaga have been persecuted and falsely imprisoned for being firm and enduring voices for faith and freedom against the Ortega-Murillo regime,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I am honored to stand in support of them as they sacrifice their own freedoms to help preserve the rights of others.”
Bishop Álvarez was arrested in August of 2022 and later sentenced to 26 years in prison for speaking out against the dictatorship. Maradiaga was sentenced to 13 years in prison for running against Daniel Ortega in the 2019 presidential elections. Maradiaga, a devout Catholic, was denied even a Bible during his two years in prison before being banished. He subsequently lost his nationality and had all his goods seized. Together, they continue to speak out against Ortega’s assault on religious freedom in Nicaragua.
Last year, Cassidy welcomed Maradiaga to the U.S. Capitol following his release and exile. Maradiaga was released as part of a group of 222 political prisoners arrested and imprisoned on false political charges by the Ortega regime in 2021.