Guatemalan Catholics address brutal slaying of workers

This message below is from the Petén, Guatemala, Vicariate to all religious. It was forwarded to the Loretto Community. They received this from the Vicariate where the situation is very serious. The following is a translation of the Document:

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“Don’t allow evil to conquer you, rather conquer evil with good.” (Paul to Romans 12:21)

To al the Faithful Catholics of the Peten Apostolic Vicariate.

To the National and Departmental Authorities, and to men and women of good will in Petén.

Confronted by constant violent deeds that are attacking our dear Petén, causing death and pain, the Catholic Church of Petén cannot remain indifferent or silent. Rather we are called to make our voice heard and to intervene with a sense of responsibility.


  • We manifest our deep horror and rejection, indignation and shame for the massacre of 27 persons in the “Los Cocos” farm, town of La Libertad, as the last and barbarous expression of a generalized situation of violence and insecurity.

  • We share in the suffering and tears of the victim’s families, to whom wee want to express our participation and nearness, and our fraternal prayers.

  • As believers and disciples of the God of Life, we reaffirm our determinated and persevering option for life, for the dignity of all human beings and for the good of all the people.

  • That is why, in these times of incertitude and confusion, of anxiety and fear, we want to instill hope and commitment.

And, with the light of our faith and common sense, we request that:


  1. The authorities investigate exhaustively the events so that they will lead them to capture and judge the responsible persons. We also demand that the state of seige, approved by the senate, be applied correctly, according to the law. We also request that the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations on Human Rights monitor the state of seige as it did in Alto Verapaz.

  2. We also ask that this very complicated and confusing set of events, with so many actors and causes, we do not look for easy answers and solutions, such as miltarization or applying the death penalty, as some polititians have suggested. Rather that the roots and sources of violence against our people in Petén regarding the difficult condition be found. Illegality and corruption, cheap politics, organized crime and drug traffic and violence rooted in our history are the real causes that we have to confront so as to root out the real causes be faced to solve problems once and for all by means of authentic dialogue and real commitment by our people. And we could like to see the real solutions included in the programs proposed by those who are running for election in the near future.

  3. That the people of Petén will live these critical times with utmost possible wisdom, serenity and responsibility. Complete unity together with collaboration with the forces of public order is most necessary at this time, as well as denouncing any abuses.

  4. That the intellectual and material authors of these violent acts that caused the massacre, as well as the daily violent deaths that have been causing so much suffering to our people cease; they turn, look for and find the image of God they have in their heart. And that they repent and convert to the commandment that God has given from the beginning and is still true always: “You will not kill!”

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