AMERICA/CHILE - New violence in Araucania: appeal of the Bishop of Temuco, "only fraternity generates social peace"

Monday, 11 January 2021 violence   indigenous   local churches   human rights   area crisis  

Temuco (Agenzia Fides) - "These days our region, already deeply affected by the pandemic, poverty and lack of opportunities, polarization, failure to keep the promises made to the Mapuche people and the feeling of abandonment on the part of the State, was devastated by new acts of very serious violence which are the subject of an investigation". This is what the Bishop of Temuco, Monsignor Héctor Vargas, writes in a statement of January 9 sent to Fides. In this context, he denounces the latest episodes of violence in Araucania. Even in the last Assembly of the Chilean Bishops' Conference, held in November, the Bishops recalled "the permanent wound which bleeds in the region of Araucanía" (see Fides, 27/11/2020).
The latest violence is added to those in the rural world "where people have lost their lives, have been injured or have their rights violated, and see their rights violated because of indiscriminate actions perpetrated regardless of their age, sex, their race or social condition". The Bishop stresses that the consequences of such acts are devastating in many ways, and some will last a lifetime, recalling that the greatest sin that exists remains that of granting oneself the right to end the life of another human being. "This will always be the basis of great violence, which can only lead to new and serious evils. History teaches that violence will never be the best path to authentic transformation, due justice and healthy social coexistence, let alone if it is irrational, indiscriminate and against innocent people".
In Araucania, the Bishop continues, at the origin of this situation there are also deep injustices and longstanding political, ideological, social and economic conflicts, which neither society nor democratic institutions have been able to assess and resolve. "Together with Pope Francis, we are firmly convinced that only fraternity generates social peace, because it creates a balance between freedom and justice, between personal responsibility and solidarity, between the good of people and the common good. Consequently, our political community has an imperative obligation to promote all this with transparency and responsibility".
The Bishop reiterates his closeness to the pain of the victims of yesterday and today, inviting us not to harden our hearts with hatred, resentment or revenge, but patiently awaiting the comfort of God and His justice. Finally, recalling the words of Pope Francis, "life is the art of a culture of encounter", Monsignor Héctor Vargas highlights that "it is a question of building society according to another logic, according to which, by accepting the great principles of the rights that derive from the possession of an inalienable human dignity, it is possible to take up the challenge of dreaming and thinking about another policy, another humanity and another Araucania". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 11/1/2021)