The Bishop of El Alto, Bolivia, Jesús Juárez, has called on authorities and citizens involved in the unrest that has paralyzed his city and the capital, La Paz, since last weekend to look for a solution to the conflict based on dialogue.
In three days more than 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as protestors clashed with military forces over demands that President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada resign from office.
Speaking to international reporters, Bishop Juárez exclaimed, “In the name of God, stop the violence,” urging that a “negotiated political solution be found that will guarantee the preservation of democracy.”
“We ask everyone to stop this violence. The Church will continue to insist that there is no social peace without true justice for all Bolivians,” he said, adding that “the right to life is the first right that must be guaranteed.”
He called the situation “extremely worrisome and increasingly tense.” The unrest began more than three weeks ago when opposition leaders began protesting the sale of natural gas and a new law concerning hydrocarbons.