Montevideo (Agenzia Fides) –From Sunday 14 to Tuesday, October 16, the " Marconi barrio " of the Uruguayan capital became a war zone. A group of policemen, looking for some robbers, was the object of throwing stones, sticks and gunfire on behalf of the inhabitants of the neighborhood. The police responded with fire, managing to capture the alleged robbers, but killing a young 25-year-old man, unconnected with the facts. At the news of the young man’s death, the inhabitants of the barrio took to the streets and set fire to private cars and some taxis. The men of the Republican Guard and police then surrounded the neighborhood, blocking roads to stop the violence.
In the Marconi area 160 000 people (about 12% of the population of Montevideo) live and crime has made this area the most dangerous neighborhood in the country. Unemployment is at 40% and dropping out of school 70%. The only realities that try to alleviate the suffering and the difficulties of the population are NGOs and religious organizations.
After the latest violence, the Vicariate of Solidarity of the Archdiocese in Montevideo called for a moment of reflection. In a statement sent to Fides by the Episcopal Conference of Uruguay, signed also by religious organizations and parishes of the barrio, it is stated inter alia: "It is not the first time that violence is experienced in the neighborhood, among the inhabitants and the police; no violence is justified under any circumstances; this fact is a consequence of others, that occurred a long time ago, and unfortunately, it will generate more in the future. "
Denouncing that "we all have fear," the document recalls that "violence in Marconi has many causes " and the efforts of the state, also important, have proven insufficient, as the intervention of the police is limited. "The same population of Marconi should be the protagonist of change" says the document, wondering, "If a lot of resources have been invested, why doesn’t this disturbing reality change?". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 18/10/2012)