Hugo Torres, then head of the political leadership of the Nicaraguan Army in those years, recalled that there was heavy security to protect the pope, also because one day before the pope’s arrival, 17 young Sandinistas were killed by the “Contras,” the counterrevolutionary group financed by the United States that engaged in a civil war with the Sandinistas for a decade.
John Paul II then went by helicopter to León, where he said a few brief words to the faithful present before returning to Managua.
Disruptions at Mass and the pope’s response
At the beginning of the Mass and before hundreds of thousands of people present, the then archbishop of Managua, Miguel Obando Bravo, greeted John Paul II and compared his visit to one made by Pope John XXIII to a prison in Rome.
During John Paul II’s homily, in addition to the faithful cheering the pope and Obando — who would later become a cardinal — groups of Sandinistas also shouted slogans in favor of their…