AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Bishops encourage dialogue to settle disagreements and avoid violence “which only breeds more violence”

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Cochabamba (Fides Service) - "Dialogue is the only way to solve conflict. Violence only breeds more violence and deplorable results causing offence and damage" said Archbishop Tito Solari of Cochabamba at a press conference after clashes occurred in Cochabamba city.
The Archbishop urged the local authorities to do "everything possible to avoid conflict and division and to build a common home for the whole nation "; he called on the involved parties "continue to demand greater justice, participation and equity "; he asked the media to "offer information which helps to build a more inclusive and just society”; he assured his closeness to the people and warned them not to give in to sentiments of revenge, racism or resentment. The Archbishop concluded "We trust that efforts for dialogue will lead to agreement and peaceful solutions”.
The Archbishop of Santa Cruz Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, speaking at the Conference of Religions for Peace being held in that city, said unrest in Cochabamba “ was not an isolated event, for some time we have urged Bolivians to avoid clashes and dialogue with frankness to build a nation for all citizens". The Cardinal expressed sadness for the violence and he said "may it not wound the soul of the people, may it not corrode the spirit of unity, fraternity and respect, despite serious injustices and difficulties ". He called on governors and citizens to "realise that tension does not lead to progress” indeed, he said “we are going backwards rather than forewards to a reality of happiness and commitment ".
Local sources say at least ten people were injured during protests calling for the resignation of governor Manfred Reyes Villa, cars and government buildings were set on fire. Violence broke out when the police intervened to disperse the crowds. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 11/1/2007; righe 26, parole 370)