Press Release, November 6, 1997
The Episcopal Commssion for Peace and Reconciliation in Chiapas expresses in dismay its profound repudiation and its vigorous condemnation of the attack suffered by the bishops of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruííz Garcia and Raúl Vera López, and those accompanying them, on November 4 in the Chiapas municipality of Tila as they were travelling peacefully in the area on a pastoral mission integral to their ministry.
In the face of these events, we state the following:
- With this attack on the pastors of San Cristóbal and on the other members of the diocese, a whole series of threats that we have been aware of and have denounced for some time has now been confirmed and further escalated. The fact that these threats have now been carried out affecting even the bishops lends an extremely serious meaning to their intent.
- This attack is further evidence of the breakdown of the social compact, and especially of the spiral of violence that is experienced in several parts of Chiapas State, especially in the north, that has its origin in the lack of an adequate solution to the grave underlying problems that exist in the region, above all because of the agrarian backwardness which still persists.
- We are concerned about the non-resumption of the dialogues of San Andrés Larraínzar and the lack of progress in the needed legislation concerning indigenous rights and culture; these create dangerous vacuums that are inciting violence.
- We are aware that there are individuals and groups trying to polarize the conflict and have it come to extreme violence, seeking to benefit from it, evidenced by the minimal attention given to the problem by the appropriate authorities.
- We call for a clarification of the facts and a clear determination of those responsible, and we demand the strict application of the law. We repeat our urgent call for the restoration of a state of law in Chiapas. Only thereby will the dignity, rights and integrity of all the people of Chiapas be guaranteed. Every neglect or delay in this will be a matter of most serious responsibility before God and the Mexican people.
- We express our solidarity with the bishops of San Cristobal, with the staff of the diocese and the men and women of Chiapas who have suffered so many kinds of violence. We call upon them to reject violence as a solution to the problems and to continue seeking ways that open to visions of hope for a peace grounded in truth, justice and the love of one's brothers and sisters.
- We express our thanks to the representative of the Holy Father in our country for his immediate act of solidarity with the San Cristóbal bishops and the members of the diocese in confirming, just yesterday, his plan to continue with his pastoral visits for peace and hope to the three diocess of Chiapas.
- We beg all Mexicans to continue praying for peace in Chiapas, and we commend this very difficult time to Our Lady of Guadalupe, that she may show us the way to Christ, the Prince of Peace.