Thesis: The Catholic Church and the 2018 wave of protests in Nicaragua

Title: “The Catholic Church and the 2018 wave of protests in Nicaragua” Cabrales Domínguez, Sergio (2020) The Catholic Church and the 2018 wave of protests in Nicaragua. Master’s Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract: Between April and September 2018, the repression towards a Wave of more than 2,000 protests in Nicaragua installed an authoritarian regime but also created a national social movement that demands democracy restoration. Keeping a tradition of political involvement, the Catholic Church in the country mobilized its religious assets to catalyze or hinder political outcomes at this critical juncture. In a spiral of involvement, it appeared as an institution and community that mobilized along with other social actors in the events of the first protests. The Church also behaved as “Movement’s Midwife,” by enabling, certifying, protecting, and giving leaders to the emerging movement. After the wave, it also adapted its supporting strategies while was paying the material and human consequences of its participation with protesters.

With data gathered from different techniques (an original database on protests, secondary sources, interview with stakeholders, revision of Bishops’ documents (2006-2018), and simple regression analysis), this thesis answers: What role has the Catholic Church played in the development and outcomes of the 2018 wave of protests in Nicaragua? The Political Process theory (McAdam, Tarrow, & Tilly, 2001; Tilly & Tarrow, 2015) and insights from studies on religion and social movements (Leffel, 2007; Smith, 2014), illuminated the findings.

Nicaragua Watch: The news about this Master’s thesis in Sociology was tweeted by Monsignor Silvio Báez and representatives from the Carmelite community on 6 July 2020. The author published an article in Spanish with the main conclusions in Confidential on 6 July 2020.