Prelate attempts to bring calm to southeastern Peru

Msgr. Elio Perez, Prelate of the Vicariate of Juli, Peru, has traveled to the country’s southeastern area on the border with Bolivia in order to join an official committee that is seeking to put an end to the social unrest in the region where a mob of angry protesters beat to death the local mayor.

After 24 days of tension and complaints against Mayor Fernando Robles, who was accused of corruption and misapplication of funds, protestors kidnapped him and beat him to death.

Speaking with on local radio, Msgr. Perez said in the last weeks, the situation has become uncontrollable and that despite efforts by the Church to mediate in the crisis, dialogue has not been possible.  Church officials themselves, he added, were in danger of being assaulted by the protesters.

“From the start of this situation on April 2, when a town meeting was held with the mayor who made his statements, we saw that people were very upset with him and demanded he step down.  The Church in Juli, together with other institutions, tried to get involved to offer mediation so that the situation could be resolved as soon as possible.  Unfortunately the positions taken were so radical that dialogue was not possible,” said Msgr. Perez.

According to the prelate, Peru’s southeastern region has become a no-man’s land.  “It got to the point that people couldn’t even work because both sides in the conflict had taken such radical positions.  It was this way until this past Monday.  When the Vicariate learned that things were becoming violent, we intervened to bring calm.  But the people were furious and they even tried to attack the representatives of the Vicariate, who had to take refuge in a local parish.  Dialogue was not possible,” said Msgr. Perez.

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