“We will continue to work with the international community to promote accountability for those who threaten democracy in Nicaragua,” the department said, “and we remain committed to promoting the fundamental freedoms of the Nicaraguan people and respect for their human rights.”

Prior to its seizure of the school, Ortega’s government had frozen the bank accounts and assets of the institution. 

The government said it suspected the university of promoting terrorism within its curriculum.

The United Nations Human Rights Council said following the takeover of the university that it “condemn[ed] the seizure” of the Catholic school, which it described as “a historical center of academic freedom and critical thinking, and the impact on the right to education, indispensable for the realization of human rights.”

Earlier this month the dictatorship had blocked two priests from reentering the country after they attended World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. 

The government has also reportedly been expelling dozens of nuns from the country over the past 18 months.

Ortega’s dictatorship has further held Matagalpa Bishop Álvarez in prison since 2022 on charges of “treason.” 

The bishop had spoken out against the regime’s persecution of the Catholic Church in that country, leading to his arrest.

Álvarez was offered the chance to depart the country in exile in February but refused to do so, reportedly declaring that he would not depart Nicaragua unless ordered to do so by the pope.