(ANS – Asunción) – In recent days the Conference of Religious in Paraguay issued a statement expressing its position regarding the latest political and social events. We report it in full.
Asunción, 22 June 2012.
Given the serious consequences following the tragic events of the death of peasants and police at Estancia Campos Morombí, with the subsequent decision to impeach the President of the Republic and related to this the implications for the present and the future of the social and political life of the country the Executive Committee of the Conference of Religious in Paraguay (CONFERPAR), declare the following:
From our Christian standpoint the use of violence and criminal activity will never be acceptable as a means to press claims or defend interests. We weep at the death of peasants and police and we vigorously demand clarification regarding these events, and while we encourage everyone to work for peace a true children of God, we repeat that the peace wiled by God will not come from hiding problems, but as the result of genuine social justice.
At the foundation of these events we see the complicity of the three powers of the state, in the abandonment of a wholesale agrarian reform, in the failure to face the problem of land distribution – until now subject to a process of hoarding –in irregular activities, in illegal possession and in the systematic turning of a blind eye to these problems by the justice system and by parliament. As long as the three powers of the state fail to give a serious and concerted response to this problem, they will continue to bear the responsibility for the violence which arises from an attempt to find a way out under pressure with un-for-seeable consequences.
We are particularly struck by the quick reaction of the political parties and their representatives who have moved to impeach the President in the two houses of the National Congress, which, while being a constitutional procedure, is being implemented in such a way as to give rise to the justified suspicion of mal practice, seriously compromising the legitimately instituted process of a popular election, as though this were a solution to our problems and as if there were a single source of responsibility for the serious questions which threaten our society.
We look with concern at the way the facts are being manipulated, through many of the media, on the part of groups seeking political advantage, with impunity, and the maintenance of a status quo that favours personal or business interests. We see the political parties more interested in defending their share of power and the distribution of offices, than in seeking a practical solution to our problems. We consider it a lack of respect for life and human dignity that they are using the deaths of people to create an atmosphere of instability to blame the peasants and criminalise their organisations, to exasperate the police and military, producing a climate of terror to dissuade and undermine the indignant citizens.
It is surprising to see these same parliamentarians, until a short time again discredited in the face of the claims of the people on account of their embarrassing behaviour are now the ones who make accusations and setting themselves up as absolute judges, and as defenders of the Homeland. It makes us think that with all this, and not by chance, the demands from the citizens about the “lista sábanas”, the demand for members of the court to face political judgement, the small steps taken regarding taxation on personal income will disappear from sight.
As part of the pilgrim Church in Paraguay, responding to our commitment to God and to His people, we are inviting everyone to participate responsibly, personally and as organisations in the construction of a State of Law based on social justice, the inclusion of all our fellow-citizens, on respect for the will of the people, integrated in the democratic progress of our neighbouring countries.
We feel ourselves to be part of a Church committed to peace that comes from justice, which opens its arms with a special love to the poorest, and we invite all sections of society to give the best of themselves in the task of building a people of brothers and sisters, working for greater equality in the distribution of goods, towards a promising future.
The Executive Committee: Sr Venancia González, FMA.
Fr José Ramón Torre-Marín, SS.CC.
Fr Alberto Luna, SJ.
Sr María Elisa Ortiz, HC.
Fr Walter Jara, SDB.
Fr Federico Gayoso, TOR.
Fr Pedro Jubenville, CSSp.
Translated by the Editorial Office of ANS