AMERICA/ARGENTINA - A priest committed to combating drug trafficking found dead

Thursday, 6 October 2016 martyrs   area crisis   drug trade   violence  


Tucuman (Agenzia Fides) - "The Bishops' Conference of Argentina expresses its sorrow and dismay at the death of father Juan Heraldo Viroche, pastor of the parish of Ntra. Sra. Del Valle de La Florida, in Tucuman. We join the request of the local Archbishop to clarify what happened as soon as possible and we are close to Viroche’s family, to the faithful of the parish and the Church of Tucuman": is what the Episcopal Conference of Argentina said in a statement sent to Fides, on the death of the priest.
Yesterday, October 5, Father Juan Heraldo Viroche was found dead in his home, in Tucuman, about 70 km from the capital. The priest was well known in the area for his fight against drug trafficking. He was a very positive and dynamic person say those who knew him in his parish, where he was also very busy with families in the area.
The Episcopal Commission for the pastoral care for drug-addiction issued a brief statement which reads: "Father Juan was known because he spent his life against drug trafficking, and defended those whose lives were in danger". The Commission also highlighted that "father Viroche had expressed to his closest collaborators deep sorrow for the threats received by drug mafias".
A first report of the authorities, as released by the local press, seems to be orientated towards a suicide, because there were no signs of external violence on the body and was found in a room locked from the inside. But the community remains incredulous before this version of facts and yesterday staged a demonstration in front of the parish to ask for a clarification of the facts. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 06/10/2016)

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