San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Archbishop Obando Prepares to Step Down

MANAGUA (EFE) – Miguel Obando,Nicaragua’s Cardinal and controversialArchbishop of Managua, announced duringMass last Sunday that Pope John PaulII has accepted his letter of resignation,and that he soon will be stepping downafter 35 years as prelate.Obando, who has recently been criticizedby some sectors for apparent cozyingup to Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega,stressed that he has never taken politicalsides, but always acted as a mediator ofdisputes.“It has been difficult,” Obando said.“Some have accused me of being involvedin politics, which is not true. I have onlyacted as a mediator – at times – for thegood of our people, not to be on camera.”Obando was named Archbishop ofManagua in April of 1970, and namedCardinal in 1985. He submitted his resignationto the Vatican in 2001, upon turning75.During his 35 years as Archbishop,Obando helped to mediate hostage releasesby Sandinista rebels in the 1970s, the endto the Contra war in 1988, the end toarmed movements and social protests inthe 1990s, and, most recently, the ongoingtripartite National Dialogue between politicalleaders.Monseñor Leopoldo Brenes,Archbishop of Matagalpa, has been mentionedas a likely successor to Obando.

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