The violence in the state of Chiapas has disrupted religious spaces; the situations of conflict and injustice that have been prosecuted against indigenous peoples have led them to fight in search of justice and truth.
Some agents of the Catholic Church have carried out support work for these organizational processes in the different areas of the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas. An example of this is Father Marcelo Perez Perez, recognized for his work for peace and who has participated as a mediator in different conflicts with the aim of curbing violence; the most recently in Pantelho.
A few days ago, a year after the murder of human rights defender Simon Pedro Perez Lopez, an indigenous Tsotsil and catechist who denounced organized crime in Pantelho, the Chiapas State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) requested an arrest warrant against Father Marcelo. In a letter to Bishop Emeritus Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, Father Marcelo expressed: “my heart is very much at peace, because I have not done anything wrong, on the contrary, I entered Pantelho on July 27th to tell the people that they are children of God and that they do not fall into the same violence.”
It seems that this work “affects the interests of individuals and groups (…) It seems the reason for reacting with persecution, intimidation, threats and imprisonment”, the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas said in a statement. The criminalization of Father Marcelo was condemned by civil society organizations for demonstrating “that the justice system is being used in a partial manner and in bad faith, lacking objectivity and loyalty”, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights said.
For more information in Spanish:
Condenamos la criminalización del Padre Marcelo Pérez Pérez, Párroco de la Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Frayba, 3 de julio de 2022)
Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas ante el aumento de la violencia en Chiapas y la persecución a las personas defensoras de la vida (Frayba, 3 de julio de 2022)
Dictan orden de aprehensión contra sacerdote Marcelo Pérez, quien ha trabajado por la paz en Chiapas (Educa Oaxaca, 4 de julio de 2022)
ONG exigen a la Fiscalía de Chiapas frenar acoso contra párroco Marcelo Pérez Pérez (Proceso, 4 de julio de 2022)
Ordenan aprehender a cura Marcelo Pérez, mediador del conflicto en Pantelhó(La Jornada, 4 de julio de 2022)
For more information from SIPAZ: