January 14 – May 31, 2019
In a unprecedented move, a visiting group of evangelical (Protestant) leaders from the United States were recently granted an audience with Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua. It was the first such meeting Ortega had granted since his reelection in office in 2007.
The delegation was part of a larger Friendship Tour to Nicaragua sponsored by the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA). The tour was arranged through a longtime sister congregation relationship between the Second Baptist Church of Leon, Nicaragua and the University Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The tour included Baptists from across the United States -- California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Minnesota.
The group met with President and Mrs. Ortega and assembled guests in Managua on August 21.
As a result of the unexpected invitation, the BPFNA delegation was able to include, as their guests, representatives of the several groups they had been working with earlier in their stay.
Spokesperson for the delegation was LeDayne McLeese Polaski, BPFNA Program Coordinator. During the meeting in the Nicaraguan capitol, she spoke of the Fellowship's desire to learn from its visit to Nicaragua, taking time to introduce the extra invited guests as “our teachers.” “We are grateful to them and to all those who have in their hearts a true concern for and a true commitment to the struggle for justice,” she added.
The meeting was broadcast live on Radio Nicaragua and was extensively covered on Nicaraguan television and in the press.
Polaski later spoke of the group’s “gratitude for the opportunity to speak directly to President Ortega” about its concerns and of their “thanks for being received with such hospitality.”
►Read the full text of the message delivered to President Ortega and the dispatches sent from the BPFNA Friendship Tour at: