Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas denounces threats against activist priest in Chiapas, Mexico

* Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez stated in his statement his outrage at the threats against the activist priest and human rights defender

* The priest was recognized by the Swedish government and currently has the protection mechanisms of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Upon learning of the “new threats” against the life of the coordinator of the pastoral ministry of the diocese of San Cristóbal, Father Marcelo Pérez Pérez, Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez made publicly known his outrage at the threats that have arisen in various areas of the diocese. Through a statement dated April 23, the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas supported Pérez Pérez, a human rights activist and defender, in his pastoral work, calling on the authorities to direct their service to peace, seeking dialogue and the good of all.

Previously, the “Fray Bartolomé de las Casas” Human Rights Center, through an April 18 bulletin, expressed its concern about what it considered as aggressive acts against the person of the priest, the pastor in Simojovel. Members of the Center are concerned about death and surveillance threats, which on its website reported on the alleged crimes since the end of March in which some people have allegedly taken photographs of the priest illegally in addition to direct threats against his life:

“On April 02, 2020, a collaborator close to Father Marcelo received a phone call to warn him to be careful because they were asking for the details of the people who work in the parish. On April 5, 2020, Father Marcelo received information that a man in Simojovel said: ‘The father gets into everything, you have to give him a plomazo …’, these types of threats have become repeatedly visible even on social networks “

The same Center indicated that Pérez Pérez is under the protection of the mechanisms for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, in addition to having precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

According to the national ecclesiastical directory, Marcelo Pérez Pérez is incardinated to the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas and was ordained on April 6, 2002. The priest has faced the local mafias which earned him the government’s recognition in 2018 from Sweden. Through ambassador Annika Thunborg, the activist was supported by the non-governmental organization “Swedish Movement for Reconciliation”.

In 2015, the bishops Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Enrique Díaz Díaz and the members of the College of Consultants and the Agents of Animation and Pastoral Coordination of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, supported the priest who at that time demanded the closure of canteens, brothels, drug and arms trafficking.

On that occasion, through a letter, the peeled gave a boost to the priest’s commitment and fight against “alcoholism, insecurity, violence, drug trafficking, corruption, kidnappings, arms trafficking, and the deterioration of public services and so many other chains that oppress especially the poorest and most unprotected … We recognize that your fight is not for the opportunism of partisan politics, nor for your personal interests, but only for fidelity to Jesus Christ, who wants your people to live with dignity, without abuse of those who have more economic or political power. “

Despite these allegations, now the diocese of San Cristóbal is once again reporting on a delicate situation against the life of the person responsible for social ministry. ” This life is sought by raising the voice against those situations that threaten the life of the people. We know that making the option of being on the side of the poor will bring us consequences such as: persecution, slander, defamation, threats, jail, and even death… ” read the statement in support of Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar.

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Source: religiondigital.org

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