On November 13th, the municipal president of San Cristobal de las Casas, Mariano Diaz and the Secretary General of the Government, Victoria Cecilia Flores, presented the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas medal to Gonzalo Ituarte, a Dominican friar who since the 1970s, under the leadership of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, has worked for the defense of human rights in this region.
During the award ceremony that took place at the Daniel Zebadua Theater and in a Solemn Session of the Council, the municipal president explained that “this recognition is given in Chiapas to those who have sufficient merits through their exemplary performance in the observance, dissemination and respect for individual guarantees.”
For his part, friar Gonzalo Ituarte referred to the context that is currently being experienced in the state during his speech, mentioning that “After a brief absence, I return to Chiapas and see it from the lens of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and what do I see? I see fear, insecurity, violence, dispute over territories, organized crime, dispossession, destruction of wetlands, pollution of rivers (…) I see a fractured society.” He also mentioned some positive aspects and the opportunities that the situation offers: “I see many civil society organizations in a continuous search for answers to the different dimensions of this complex reality. I see multiple opportunities for the new municipal government to reconnect with society and respond to its legitimate demands. I see the great opportunity to understand that the human rights achieved by each sector mean an advance to the rights of all other sectors. I see the opportunity that in the exercise of wisdom we are able to find a balance between collective and individual interests, and those of nature.”
Finally, he made a call to work together for a better future: “Actually my invitation is to take on the serious reality that this municipality and our State are experiencing and to summon everyone present here to join forces and the will to overcome this situation and make it possible for this city and its rural communities, and the entire State of Chiapas, to be a space of peace, where people can live, where the common good comes before private interests (…) I am convinced that it is possible to return to look to Chiapas with hope if we manage to converge from all sectors, building a society in which there is place and peace and a future and harmony for all.”
Representatives of the three levels of government, as well as members of various civil society organizations attended the delivery.
The recognition was delivered within the framework of the commemoration of International Human Rights Day and in the midst of a moving atmosphere due to the accident that occurred the previous day in which more than 50 migrants died.
For more information in Spanish:
Fray Gonzalo Bernabé recibe la medalla Fray Bartolomé de las Casas ( Chiapas Paralelo 11 de diciembre 2021)
Sacerdote dominico recibe medalla Fray Bartolomé en Chiapas (La Jornada 12 de diciembre 2021)
For more information from SIPAZ: