AMERICA/COLOMBIA - "Now more than ever unity is strength": the greetings of Mgr. Epalza in Buenaventura

Saturday, 1 July 2017 bishops   human rights   violence   area crisis

Buenaventura (Agenzia Fides) - "The affection of the people of Buenaventura is in my mind and heart, and I tell you that now more than ever unity is strength. This is my message: to continue with that tenacity, resistance and the commitment you showed during the demonstrations", are the words of Mgr. Héctor Epalza Quintero, P.S.S. after the news of the appointment of the new Bishop whom Pope Francis appointed for the diocese of Buenaventura (Colombia). Mgr. Epalza had resigned two years ago, but only on 29 June the Vatican accepted his resignation (See Fides 30/06/2017).
Mgr. Epalza managed to show the whole of Colombia the situation of violence that the region has lived for years (See Fides 9/11/2012), he distinguished himself by staying next to the weak and marginalized, denounced injustice and the lack of security that caused forced displacements of many families in the area.
Mgr. Epalza always asked to "solve the problem of violence with social investment", a solution to the violence that has terrified the population because extortions, threats, clashes continue in Buenaventura, and there are places that are forbidden even to police.
The community has always acknowledged the contribution of Mgr. Epalza, especially in the fight against criminal gangs that, besides fomenting terror, kidnapped young people for their criminal purpose (See Fides 13/09/2013).
For the community of Buenaventura, Mgr. Epalza will always be the pastor who, surprisingly in the middle of a celebration, turned to the President of Colombia on a visit to Buenaventura and asked for help for the population by denouncing in detail the situation that the people live (See Fides 25/05/2016).
The Bishop's last public intervention was to stop the violence of vandalism which unleashed after protests over the lack of services by the central government, the hospital was closed and the insecurity of the population were the main points of the demonstrations which from May 15 brought workers and citizens to the streets of the city until Friday 19, when unprecedented vandalism broke out. (See Fides 22/05/2017). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 01/07/2017)