DIOCESE OF SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS
Communiqué from the People of Faith or Believing People
To civil society
To the different religious beliefs
To the three levels of government
To the media
To the men and women who build peace.
“God said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses covered his face, for he feared to look upon God. The Lord went on to say, I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt, I have heard the cry that their oppressors wrested from them, I know their distresses!
I am going down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians…” (Ex 3:6-8).
As the People of Faith we unite on this day to remember the 12 years since the Passing of JTatic Samuel who was a prophet and pastor, who accompanied the people. He lives on in the memory of this pilgrim people, and strengthens us in our journey. We also unite to protest all the abuses and injustices, violence and insecurity that we are experiencing and to promote our hope.
The presence of organized crime in the cities, towns and communities has become increasingly visible in a context of dispute and control over territory, leading to a climate of generalized violence, threats, confrontations, disappearances and murders of people from different social strata, as well as the recruitment of young people. Causing massacres, terror and insecurity in communities and municipal capitals, not only in the territory of our diocese but also in other parts of the dioceses of Tuxtla and Tapachula.
The increase of clandestine bars in the municipal capitals and in some communities where drugs are also sold and prostitution takes place, causing addiction and destruction of families.
We have seen that organized crime has acted with the complicity of the three levels of government, thus leading to impunity and injustice.
The use of weapons has been a tool to solve conflicts in communities, leaving behind the community forms of dialogue and the search for peaceful solutions and reconciliation that our grandfathers and grandmothers taught us.
Chiapas has been one of the states in which the phenomenon of forced displacement has become increasingly visible and has not been recognized or addressed by the authorities of the three levels of government. In many cases they began as land disputes, but with the bad decision of the government institutions that caused the increase of conflicts by not taking into account the historical background between communities or their previous community agreements.
Recently, displacements have been caused by the situation of extreme violence provoked by armed groups, with the permissiveness of the government. This situation of violence has also often provoked migration to other states in the country or to the United States and Canada.
All of the above has resulted in the rupture of the social and family structures.
During displacement, women and children are most exposed to harassment and sexual torture as a form of direct violence, leaving them in a state of vulnerability, lack of protection, discrimination, violation of their human rights and total helplessness.
Already since the last months of 2022, the race for the 2024 elections has begun at the federal, state and municipal levels. Many times with disguised “pre-campaigns” by various political actors.
As well as starting to distribute handouts with food and other mechanisms that are always used to buy consciences, and therefore votes. In addition to causing division in the communities.
We also see the alliances of certain politicians with power groups, organized crime, some social organizations and caciques. All for the greed for power.
Because of this collusion with delinquency, violence is expected again before, during and after the elections, which will bring suffering and death in our towns.
We peasants continue to resist and produce food despite the fact that the prices of our products remain low: corn, coffee, cacao, beans, sugar cane, tomatoes, chayote, etc.
There is a great lack of control in the prices of the basic food staples and in the prices of fuels: gasoline, gas, electric energy, as well as transportation.
Wages in the countryside continue to be low in relation to what workers, service workers and civil servants earn.
We experience a constant dispossession of our goods, our land, water and forests. These are other causes of migration and the destruction of families in the countryside and in the city.
There is a lot of migration from our communities that move to the United States and within the country, as we expressed before. As well as many migrants from Central and South America and from other countries of the world that pass through our country.
Migrants’ rights are violated. They suffer robberies and kidnappings, and many are left begging for alms in communities and cities. There are also migrants who are arrested by various government institutions and imprisoned for a time and then sent back to their country. Others die in the desert from hunger and thirst, or are murdered or victims of extortion.
There are migrant women who are recruited by prostitution centers and their rights are violated –they are murdered, kidnapped and forced into prostitution. There are entire families who have migrated, leaving their homes in search of a better life, others for money or other reasons.
CALL TO THE ORIGINAL PEOPLES
As Original Peoples we can continue to exist, building peace and justice, if we search for our roots and strengthen our culture, our languages and the recognition of our rights. If we maintain the meanings of life that are present in the community. If we do not fall into the traps and conflicts that divide and confront us among brothers and sisters.
We demand an end to conflicts in the communities: injustices, murders, kidnappings and disappearances of people, violence and insecurity. We demand a halt to the clandestine bars that promote the consumption of alcohol, drugs and prostitution.
We demand an end to the destruction of families with violence, displacement, kidnapping, dispossession of territory and insecurity that is increasing with the increase of weapons and the presence of organized crime.
We demand respect for women in all areas of society; for their right to decide freely not be impeded.
We demand an end to the criminalization of the struggle for the defense of the self-determination of our peoples and the defense of the territory in which we live.
We demand justice not impunity for the Acteal massacre. We recognize the dignified struggle of the civil organization “Las Abejas”, who have fought tirelessly for 30 years and have the living memory of the massacre of 45 sisters and brothers, plus 4 unborn babies taken from their mothers’ wombs in Acteal on December 22, 1997.
To organize collective work as communities or as families, as women, youth, children, catechist brothers and sisters and Ministry of the Earth and other areas. To achieve our own healthy and nutritious food.
To conserve and value our mother nature which we are part of, to take care of her; to be conscious of not using chemicals and disposable products that contaminate it.
To collect garbage as our grandfathers and grandmothers taught us. Plant fruit trees, medicinal plants, make vegetables in common.
“Then God took the human being and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it” (cf. Gen 2:15).
Seek peace and reconciliation in our communities, so that there may be harmony in our works and peoples.
From the Word of God that enlightens us and shows us the way to continue strengthening our journey as a Believing People.
It is also essential to remember what was already said in a pastoral letter: “It is important to continue weaving in common, because we cannot transform reality alone or as a single community, a single zone, a single organization; it is our task to weave alliances with those people, communities, zones, organizations, who are in a real struggle building that new life, who are building the “Good living with great respect”…. Therefore, we have to encourage hearts to strengthen unity in action among those who are struggling for that new life that we wish to have for all, making our own the experience of the first Christian communities that “were of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:32)”. (Pastoral Letter Let us walk together in the light of the Lord, number 49, year 2020).
As People of Faith we thank God for the 5 years of accompaniment in this diocese of our bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez and may we continue walking together in the light of the Lord.
“THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE”
Believing People of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.
On January 25, 2023.
This was published by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights https://frayba.org.mx/sites/default/files/2023-01/Comunicado%20P%20Creyente%202023.pdf. English Translation by Schools for Chiapas.