AMERICA/GUATEMALA - Increasing violence and conflict in the department of Solola, the Bishops call for dialogue and prayer

Monday, 10 January 2022 armed conflicts   violence   indigenous   episcopal conferences  

Guatemala de la Asuncion (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Guatemala express their "enormous concern" for the spread of violence that has caused numerous victims, including children, women and innocent people "who sought for just a decent livelihood for their families, as well as members of the police who were murdered". Faced with episodes of "increasing violence, polarization and conflict", in and between the municipalities of Nahuala and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, in the department of Solola, the Guatemalan bishops "condemn and express their indignation at the use of violence as a tool to achieve their goals". They affirm that "violence only generates more violence", and that "to the extent that organized crime is behind the events, it must be unmasked, and those responsible arrested, condemned and punished".
In a joint message dated January 8, 2022, the bishops recall the violent conflicts between the two indigenous communities of Nahuala and Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, which have been fighting over border issues for more than a century. Guatemala is one of the 15 countries in the world with the highest rate of violence, and the conflict between the two communities also prompted the President of Guatemala a few months ago to impose a kind of state of siege on the two communities.
"We appeal to all members of these brotherly peoples and above all to their recognized leaders, to seek peaceful and law-compliant means to defend their respective positions or to protect their rights," demanded the bishops and recalled the fundamental importance of dialogue in solving problems.
"For this reason we call on the national and local authorities to continue to search for solutions that defuse the violence", write the bishops and appeal in particular to communities, pastoral workers, and to all men and women of good will, "to work and pray for peace". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/1/2022)