Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 8, 2002
CCCB speaks out against Guatemalan death threats
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Catholic Church officials in Canada are worried about death threats made against a Guatemalan bishop and one of his priests.
Recalling the 1998 assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi of Guatemala, the human rights committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has written to Guatemala's Ambassador to Canada, Carlos Humberto Jimenez to express its concerns..
"We are dismayed that the defence of human rights by Guatemalan Christians continues to be a dangerous ministry," said committee chair, Bishop Jean Gagnon, the auxiliary bishop of Quebec in a letter.
The Guatemalan bishop Alvaro Ramazzini and Father Juan Jose Aldaz, received anonymous telephone death threats which Ramazzini believes were acts of intimidation linked to the Church's role in local land disputes.
"The social conflict in San Marcos is the result of the lack of land for poor families as well as the massive firings and lack of respect for minimal labour standards in the plantations of the region, rather than a result of the actions of the Church's human rights work," continued Gagnon.
The committee's letter concluded, "We ask you, Excellency, to inform us of the actions your government will take to ensure that the legitimate ministry of the bishop and the entire Church in the San Marcos diocese can proceed without threat or hindrance."