The Friendship Office is deeply saddened by the passing of Padre Miquel dEscoto who died on June 9, 2017 after 84 years of life fully lived. In the many tributes to his life and legacy, Miquel is described as, a Latin American prophet of peace inspired by Sandino and Bolivar,kkll Dorothy Day, Gandhi and Martin Luther King… An uncompromising anti-imperialist…a Chancellor of Peace and Dignity…a voice of conscience who spoke truth to power and expected others to do the same.
Padre Miquel was a Maryknoll Priest who embraced liberation theology. With the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution he became the Foreign Minister of Nicaragua until 1990. From that position, he fought valiantly and creatively to nurture and protect the process of social change in unfolding in Nicaragua which quickly became a target of the US sponsored counter-insurgency wars of the 1980s. In 1983, Padre shared these words with a group of US church leaders in Nicaragua:
A revolution is made so that what is there in a most real manner can be allowed to grow, and not be suffocated. It’s got to respond very much to the idiosyncrasy, to the history, to the preference of the people. And so when they ask me, “What is it going to be like exactly?” I say, of course, I’ve never been pregnant. But I can think of Our Lady that has a baby in her. She is full of life, joy and expectation for the future. She does not know it is a boy or a girl, blonde, brunette or whatever. She does not know! She does not care! She just wants it to be good. You NURTURE that life. You try to eat all of the appropriate things and avoid what will hurt it. We are full of new life, hope and expectation. We need more than ever in our history to be left alone. This is a time when a country needs to be left alone so that you are not reacting to external things and disturbing the course. What would happen if the lady is pregnant and you set fire to her house and she has to RUN for her life? What if she trips and falls? What happens if you deprive her of the food she needs or make her endure other terrible things? You affect that life.
In 1985, Padre Miquel surprised the world by taking the case of US aggression against Nicaragua to the World Court and winning a historic decision against the US. Despite international condemnation, the US intensified the war. In 1986, Padre Miquel surprised the world again. As Foreign Minister he embarked on a 300 mile Way of the Cross, walking through the Nicaraguan countryside, lending encouragement and receiving hospitality from war weary villagers. Fasting and praying for peace along the way, Padre Miguel showed us the power of active non-violent resistance.
In June 2008 Padre Miguel was elected President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly where he worked to promote the rights of Mother Earth and to democratize and reinvent the United Nations.
Padre Miquel was a leader and friend; always making time to talk, to listen, to share the journey. From the World Court, to the dusty dirt roads of northern Nicaragua, to the United Nations showed us what means to practice active non-violence is. Padre Miquel gave us better world. We can hold him PRESENTE, by doing the same.