Chiapas: Pilgrimage of the Believing People in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Mass during pilgrimage of Believing People, SCLC (@SIPAZ)

On 24 November, approximately 8,000 Catholics from the 54 parishes of the diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas carried out a pilgrimage in the city, traveling through its principal streets before concentrating at the Cathedral Plaza to celebrate a mass.

In reference to a biblical passage on the prophet Daniel read during the mass, bishop Felipe Arizmendo said that today “The lions are the mining companies, the projects that seek to appropriate the lands of the campesinos, the corrupt authorities who sell out and do not defend the welfare of the communities but instead dedicate themselves to the unchecked logging of forests.  Similarly, the large beer and alcohol firms, the authorities who due to corruption do not apply health laws […], the merchants and distributors of drugs, both large and small, the chiefs of cartels and their lieutenants, those who extortion and kidnap to make money, those who kill those who do not follow their criminal ways, those who detain and attack migrants who pass among us.”

The pilgrimage was organized by the Believing People and the Ecclesiastical Communities of Base, which in a communiqué express that “We see with pain that our state of Chiapas there is much poverty, migration, appearance of new diseases like AIDS, suicide, looting of lands, an increase in natural disasters that principally affect the poorest.  We are witnesses to how it is that some governmental programs create dependencies and poverty, and it worries us that the so-called ‘mega-projects’ which originate in and respond to transnational interests seek to appropriate and control the territory and natural resources of our state.  In many communities, this dynamic provokes division and confrontation.  It angers us to see the cliamte of insecurity and violence throughout the country, and in our state this is increasingly seen in the murders, kidnappings, disappearances, abuse of migrants, extortion, etc.  Joining this there is the opening of more bars, bordellos, and extralegal spaces which violate the health statutes, provoking an increase in the sale of alcohol, drugs, and prostitution.  It concerns us that there would be imposed a Security Law that would not respect our inviolable rights guaranteed in the constitution.  It angers us that society be criminalized, that human-rights defenders be so, that they be arrested, tortured, and incarcerated like criminals for denouncing injustice.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Católicos marchan en Chiapas contra empresas mineras (La Jornada, 25 November)

Miles de indígenas de Chiapas realizan peregrinación por la Paz(Proceso, 25 November)

Pronunciamiento público del Pueblo Creyente y Comunidades Eclesiales de Base (24 November)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: pilgrimage against “death projects” (3 December 2010)

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