AMERICA/PERU - Curfew in Puno extended: bishops call for immediate solution

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 social situation   politics   human rights   peace   bishops  


Puno (Agenzia Fides) - By decree, the Peruvian Government has extended the curfew in the Puno region by ten days, which will be in effect from today, January 25, from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. The decree was signed by President Dina Boluarte, the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Interior, Defence, Justice and Human Rights.
The Puno region, which consists of 13 provinces and 107 districts, is located in the south of the country, on the border with Bolivia on the western shore of Lake Titicaca. The commercial port and the cattle market are important for the local economy. Around 50 km from the city of Puno is the pre-Columbian archaeological site, a popular destination for scholars and tourists. Puno is one of the strongholds of the anti-government protests that began on December 7 and have left dead and injured in clashes with police.
Concerned about the acts of violence during the protests in the south of the country and about the suffering of the population, the bishops of the Peruvian highlands are now making a joint appeal to the members of the congress "so that they can find an immediate solution to the demands of our brothers and sisters, thereby preventing more serious events that could result in loss of life, injury, and attacks on public and private property."
The declaration was signed by Bishop Jorge Carrión Puno, Bishop of the Diocese of Sicuani and Apostolic Administrator of the Ayaviri Prelature Pedro Bustamante, Bishop of the Prelature of Huancané Giovanni Cefai and Bishop of the Prelature of Juli Ciro Quispe.
The text recalls Pope Francis' appeal for Peru at the Angelus on Sunday 22 January and the recent message of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference of 20 January (see Fides, 23/1/2023). The bishops, in communion with their priests, are aware of the difficult situation in which the communities find themselves. At the same time they emphasize the sacred and inviolable value of human life as a gift from God.
The bishops recall the commitment of the Catholic communities during the pandemic as they tried to alleviate the suffering of the population "in a silent and supportive manner". This commitment is continued today, "in the painful situation that we are currently experiencing", by Caritas and the parishes, "so that our people are never alone and will not be alone in the future, but will always be accompanied by us, in the pain of the families who lost their sons, brothers, fathers and mothers in these clashes, as well as the wounded."
The bishops want to continue to provide people with food and medical, psychological and legal help in the future and urge people not to be deceived by fake news spread on some social networks: "The Church always serves with the truth, that makes us free people". The text concludes with an appeal "to the authorities of the executive branch, and particularly to the legislature, to respond in a respectful and humble manner to the demands of our people who want to make their voices heard. We are confident that in this case peace and tranquility can return to our nation". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 25/1/2023)