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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mexico's Clericide: 26 Priests Murdered in the Sexenium of EPN

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Proceso
           "If I can kill a priest, I can kill anyone"; 26 clerics Murdered in Peña's six-year term

Special Report and Interview: by Rodrigo Vera
Dec 25, 2018

In the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, organized crime reached a tragic record of 26 murdered Catholic priests, compared to the 17 killed during the term of Felipe Calderón, ( generally referred to when he put The War on Drugs on steroids).

With this "clericide," as the religious expert Omar Sotelo calls it, criminal gangs seek to provoke "social destabilization" in communities, demonstrate that nobody is safe and silence a sector that, like journalists, "generates public opinion."

Considered the most tragic for the priesthood in Mexico and only surpassed by the period of the Cristero War, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto left a balance of 26 priests killed by direct attacks and by the mere fact of being religious  ministers, they are crimes that to date have not been clarified, so they remain in complete impunity.

Omar Sotelo Aguilar, director of the Catholic Multimedial Center (CCM), has just presented a report on the priests killed during the Peña Nieto government,  His Interview is below:

"After the period of the Cristero War, Peña's administration was the most disastrous and tragic for the Mexican priesthood; 26 priests were killed, a very high number, never seen before and well above what the average had been in these cases. "

Statistics in hand, Sotelo indicates that during the administration of Ernesto Zedillo , 3 priests were killed, with  Vicente Fox in office there were 4, but with Calderón the crimes went off the records charts to 17 and with Peña to 26.

Give another fact: in Latin America 14 priests were murdered in 2017 and half of these crimes, seven, occurred in Mexico, which - he says - "remains the most dangerous country to exercise the priesthood, despite the fact that its population is mostly Catholic. "

Explain the origin of so much crime:

"The increase in murders coincides precisely with the start of the war against drug trafficking that Calderón initiated and continued Peña Nieto, a war that our institutions were not prepared for, which were even infiltrated by organized crime."

"And for what reason are the clerics attacked?

-Because the priest is a kind of social stabilizer; In his parish, not only spiritual, but also educational, health, human rights and assistance to migrants are provided. Organized crime knows well that killing a priest causes social destabilization in the community, thus sowing fear to be able to act at will.

"It is no coincidence that both priests and journalists, two entities that generate public opinion, are being targeted by organized crime. There is a reason behind these crimes. And here the message that is sent is very clearly: ''If I can kill a priest I can kill whomever I want''. "

- It can not be said then that the priests are collateral victims of the war against the drug trafficking?

-Of course not. They are being killed just for  being priests. They go against them directly. We are facing a Clericide, you can not call it another name.  But in addition these crimes , they are executed with a tremendous viciousness: first they kidnap the priests, soon they subject  them  to strong tortures and finally they kill them.

"After the death comes the defamation, whose objective is to criminalize the priest, accusing him of being a pederast, ( pedophile) , dissolute or being in collusion with the Narcos. For the authorities investigating the cases this represents a very easy way out and they end up saying: ''They killed him because he was looking for it''. This is how the matter is shelved and the crimes remain unpunished. "

- Of these 26 cases of murdered priests how many have been resolved?

-None. Absolutely none, not one.  There are investigations in process, suspects, people who are detained  and then was left free, data without clarifying that they come from a judicial bureaucracy that does not give any certainty.

He gives as an example the murder of priest José Ascencio Acuña, who was killed in September 2014,  in the Guerrero community of San Miguel Totolapan, presumably by members of organized crime in collusion with municipal government personnel.

"In that case there were arrest warrants against the then PRI deputy Saúl Beltrán, but they were not executed and the matter was practically shelved; Four years after the events, there is no prisoner responsible, "says Sotelo.

The same is exemplified by the murders of Germaín Muñiz and Iván Añorve, which were riddled on 4 February on the Iguala-Taxco highway. Although the governor of Guerrero, Hector Astudillo, personally promised the Bishop of Chilpancingo, Salvador Rangel, that the case would be resolved quickly, to this day the criminals remain free.

"These priests, on the other hand, were defamed, saying that they were gay, that they had links to the Narcos and other organized crimes groups," the interviewee comments.

And he mentions the well-known case of Cardinal Posadas to emphasize the high level of impunity:

"Wow! The crime of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo is still not resolved 25 years away. There is not even a single detainee for the case. What can be expected then from the cases of murdered priests? "

The victims:

Omar Sotelo is a Pauline religious theologist ,who, through the CCM, every December presents annual reports on the murders and aggressions against the Mexican clergy. Last year, he published the book Tragedy and the Crucible of the Priesthood in Mexico, a more systematic investigation based on these reports.

And now he has just presented the evaluation of the sexennium 2012-2018, a comprehensive report on these aggressions occurred during the administration of Peña Nieto, in which he details the dates, places and circumstances of each case.

The report states: "In the 2012-2018 period, peace is the great absence in many regions and localities of the country; violence reigns.  For the Catholic priesthood in Mexico it has been a tragedy: in the last six years 26 priests lost their lives in a violent way ".

He mentions the five entities where the greatest number of murders and aggressions against priests and agents of evangelization took place: Guerrero, Michoacán, Veracruz, Chihuahua and Mexico City.

Sotelo goes on to clarify the sexennial report: "Crimes against priests are not strictly religious persecution for hatred of the faith; in most cases there are features of a new way of violently harassing the pastoral action of its evangelizing agents; when a priest is attacked, disappeared or executed, an element of social destabilization is introduced, giving rise to the growth of fear, impunity and violence in various entities of the country. "

Also, the report mentions some "causes" for which the priests are being killed:

First, it indicates that priests are "uncomfortable" with organized crime when they denounce the "shortcomings" that exist in various regions of the country, hence they are annihilated.

Another cause, he says, is for "their clashes with the political powers in turn," which take revenge using the murder. And also - the report goes on - because parish priests are an "easy target" for criminal gangs, because they lead a "solitary life" and must minister pastorally to isolated communities "without any measure of security".

He mentions the names of the 26 priests killed during the sexennium: Víctor Manuel Diosdado, José Flores Preciado, Ignacio Cortez Álvarez, Hipólito Villalobos, Joel Román Salazar, John Ssenyondo, José Ascencio Acuña, Rolando Martínez Lara, Gregorio López Gorostieta, Francisco Javier Gutiérrez Díaz ; Erasto Pliego, Israel Garrido, Alejo Nabor Jiménez, José Alfredo Juárez, José Alfredo López, Felipe Altamirano, Joaquín Hernández, Luis López Villa, José Miguel Machorro, Germaín Muñiz, Iván Añorve, Rubén Alcántara, Juan Miguel Contreras, José Moisés Fabila, Ícmar Arturo Orta and Miguel Gerardo Flores.

It also points to two priests who are still missing: Santiago Álvarez Figueroa, from the diocese of Zamora, and Carlos Ornelas Puga, from Ciudad Victoria.

He mentions five other religious practioners who were kidnapped and then released: Luis Antonio Salazar, José Luis Sánchez, Óscar López, Juan Carlos Alatriste and Enrique Madrid.

The report  also refers to "the attacks" against three religious precincts: at the headquarters of the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, in Mexico City, a homemade bomb was thrown at the dawn of July 25, 2017; the Cathedral of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, suffered another bombing attack on March 1 of this year, and shortly after the temple of San Antonio de Padua was attacked, in the same city.

The report does not ignore the incursion of an armed group in the house of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, in Mexico City, which occurred on October 21 and in which one of the cardinal's guards was killed. According to the city attorney's office, it was an attempted robbery.

However, Omar Sotelo outlines his doubts: "I doubt very much that it was a thwarted robbery. It was an armed raid in broad daylight and knowing that Norberto Rivera and his guards were in the house. The attackers entered firing. Thieves do not operate that way ... I suspect there are more substantive things that need to be investigated. "

It indicates that the Mexican bishops and cardinals have been reluctant to express the threats and  death threats they receive; However, "little by little they have opened up. Today we know of several bishops threatened with death, such as Raúl Vera, Salvador Rangel, Ramón Castro, Maximino Martínez, Miguel Patiño and Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, among others ".

- Like Norberto Rivera, do these bishops have guards?

No, I do not know anyone else who currently uses escort, for a very simple reason: the Bishop and the Priest want to maintain direct contact with their faithful, be close to the people. They do not want a security bubble so they do not touch them ...... and they are men of peace.  And of course, that has its risks.

- On the other hand, some dioceses and the same episcopate have issued security protocols for the temples. How effective have they been?

-Yes, closed circuit surviellance systems are placed, the perimeter fences of the atriums are reinforced and several other measures.; but in the end  a temple is an open house, it can not be closed or with restricted access. A Priest  must give service to all people.

"Unfortunately, the attacks and robberies to the temples have increased, even have begun to be systematic, despite security protocols. The faithful are assaulted in full mass and the theft of sacred art is common. The custodies, the sacred vessels and other objects of liturgy are stolen. It is so serious that, in the six years that just ended, each week there were an average of 26 robberies or attacks on the churches. "

And regarding the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Sotelo is concerned about the implementation of the National Guard because he believes it will be to continue the militarization.

He concludes: "López Obrador promised in his campaign to return the Army to its barracks. But today in the government its actions are heading towards the same militarization that causes us so much havoc. He promised one thing and begins to do the opposite. But it is too early to make a conclusion, his government is just beginning. We'll see what happens".


  1. The militarization in Mex will continue just as it has done in law enFORCEment here.

    The reasons for this are obvious: the internet and the interconnectivity gives the general population (the 99%) tools and means to organize themselves and act more cohesively. The elites (the 1%) obviously attempts to mitigate this by increasing insecurity in society (WoD) and the powers of enforcement (militarization, main stream media propaganda, legislation of type 'patriot' acts).

    AMLO would have been bumped off a long time ago (like heaps of young and honest politicians) did he not serve a block of powerful interests.

  2. I wonder if they thought of forming a Mexican inquisition.

    1. Interesting comment.
      Past history has shown the relentless religious persecution of all who did not convert to christianity. Slaughtering thousands of villagers all in the name of God.
      Today there are thousands of victims in Mexico who IMO bear priority and seniority to those victims.

      There is a huge backlog waiting for justice. Religious leaders should not have special preference of what's to be done. Rather, only an awareness of how justice is being abandoned and overlooked for many.

    2. the mexican inquisition has been doing business in mexico since its foundation by the spanish conquerors, it still exists under different names and Grand Inquisidors, usually serving other greater powers than God Herself... but you can google it until the cows come home.
      Hi Chivis, quen te quere y no te olvida?

  3. Challenges last for a restricted amount of time.

  4. Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I don't understand how Peña Nieto gets blamed for the murder of 26 priest. You would think the author of this article would blame the Zetas, the templarios, Guerreros unidos, CDS or Los Arellanos but instead they go ahead and irresponsibly blame the former president. No wonder Mexico's all fucked up, everyone plays the blame game without wanting to take some responsibility themselves .

    1. 5:21 EPN DID HIS PART, he had 6 years as president, 6 as governor and a not too long apprenticeship with his atracomulco cartel associates, on top of his exotic adventures with exotic partners like "la emilia' and "La Neta", distinguished members of the mexican c0fradia de la mano caida, according to Rafael Loret
      De Mola, father of famous televiso carlos l de m...
      please research your doubts and comments before posting as an opinionated waste of time

    2. @7:00 So now that EPN is out of Office I wonder who you'll blame for all of the shit going down in Mexico. Enlighten me please. Y mas te vale con que me salgas con "El Chapulin Colorado"


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