His Excellency Miguel Obando Y Bravo, Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, was our third interview subject. He has traveled extensively in Central America throughout his lifetime and plays a very vital political role as an impartial mediator in many volatile local and international conflicts. At the time when the interview was conducted, he was in the process of mediating a doctor's strike. All interviews with His Excellency are in Spanish.
We, the church, don't dabble in party politics. (When I speak of the "church" I'm talking about the church organization itself in general.) I don't concern myself with party politics, but yes we do sometimes involve ourselves in politics in a broad sense as we look for the common well being of the nation. In that respect, everyone has the obligation to do it and we, as priests, do it as well… because Nicaragua has passed through many trials. I've been working in my homeland for 40 years—I'm Nicaraguan but I have spent a great deal of time outside the country. I've seen situations in which many people were killed and maimed and I have been a mediator in things—there was a group of Sandinista warriors who had taken forty people hostage and I was the mediator in that affair.
But here, due to the circumstances of the moment, we, the church, because of it's good leadership, have been asked to serve and we have mediated. We have mediated when all those Nicaraguan officials where being held hostage by commandos. We also mediated with the Sandinista warriors and took care of getting them to Panama.
And we have gotten involved in this situation today because I am of the opinion that if there is something that one can do than they should do it. I'm a very busy person—I receive forty audiences a day and in the afternoon I go to preach out in the country. So I lead a very busy life and these things inconvenience us, but we do them when circumstances demand it of us for the good of the nation.
Well, there are problems--Nicaragua has its problems. We have lived through a war during the period of the Sandinistas—very complicated times. We lost 10 priests in just one day due to the Sandinistas. It was difficult for the church because sometimes we would speak out against them and no one would listen. But we have done it because of our love for the people.