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Peruvian bishops condemn mass killing by the Shining Path

May 25, 2021 Catholic News Agency 0
Counterterrorism operations in Peru’s Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro. Credit: Ministerio de Defensa del Perú via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ayacucho, Peru, May 25, 2021 / 17:01 pm (CNA).

The president of the Peruvian bishops’ conference has condemned Sunday’s killing of 16 persons by the Shining Path, a communist rebel group.

The May 23 attack took place in San Miguel del Ene in the Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro, about 180 miles north of Ayacucho.

The bodies of those killed were found in bars. They had bullet holes in them, and some were burned. Earlier reports indicated 14 or 18 persons had been killed, but Peru’s defense minister has confirmed that there were 16 victims.

The bodies were found with leaflets saying the Shining Path would “Clean out Vraem and Peru of the hangouts of bad actors, parasites and corrupt people,” and urged against voting in the  upcoming general election, and particularly against voting for Keiko Fujimori.

Archbishop Hector Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte of Trujillo said May 24, “I express my profound condemnation of the cruel murders of 14 people, including women, children and youths, that took place in Vraem by Shining Path terrorists led by Víctor Quispe Palomino. No one has the right to take the life of any person. Life is sacred.”

The archbishop said that “this tragic event reminds us of the time of barbarism and terror that the country went through for more than 20 years, which resulted in more than 70,000 deaths and a large number of disappeared.”

Archbishop Cabrejos emphasized that it’s time to say “never again to terrorism. Never again violence in Peru, from whatever quarter. Our country has the right to live in peace and build a future that benefits everyone.”

“I pray to God for the eternal repose of these victims, so their families may find peace and consolation, and that there be a thorough investigation,” he concluded.

The Militarized Communist Party of Peru is the Shining Path group active in the Vraem, a remote, coca producing region of the country.

The second round of Peru’s general election is due to be held June 6. Vying for president are Pedro Castillo of Free Peru, a socialist party, and Keiko Fujimori of Popular Force. 

Keiko is the daughter of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, whose administration largely defeated the Shining Path insurgency in the 1990s.

The Shining Path was founded in the 1960s, and began armed conflict in 1980. Tens of thousands have died in the ensuing violence. 

Three European priests who were killed by the Shining Path were recognized as martyrs by the Holy See in 2015. 

Fathers Michele Tomaszek and Zbigneo Strzalkowski of the Conventual Friars Minor were killed Aug. 9, 1991, by the Shining Path. Both worked in Pariacoto in the Peruvian Andes, and their work to help the poor was considered a threat by the terrorists, who saw their efforts to recruit new members thwarted.

Father Alessandro Dordi was also working in the Peruvian Andes. He was shot dead by Shining Path militants Aug. 25, 1991.


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US bishops disagree with designation of Cuba as terrorism sponsor

January 14, 2021 CNA Daily News 6

CNA Staff, Jan 14, 2021 / 06:29 pm (CNA).- The US bishops’ chair for international justice and peace has expressed his disagreement with the State Department’s return of Cuba to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The decision was based in part on Cuba’s provision of haven to Colombian rebel leaders and fugitives from US justice, as well as Cuba’s support of Nicolas Maduro, the disputed president of Venezuela, who is not recognized by the US.

“As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, I would like to express my profound disagreement with Secretary Pompeo’s decision to add Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford said Jan. 12.

“As our committee has said many times, we need more relations between the United States and Cuba, not less, in order to construct mutually beneficial trade, cultural, and scientific ties that will yield a lasting prosperity for both our nations. I pray that we never tire of working towards these goals and that both sides recognize the need for friendship and collaboration,” he stated.

“For decades, in conjunction with the Holy See and the majority of the international community, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged collaboration and mutually beneficial relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as the full lifting of the economic embargo against the island nation.”

In announcing the designation of Cuba Jan. 11, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it has provided “support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.”

He cited Cuba’s refusal to extradite 10 leaders of a Colombian rebel group which bombed a police academy in January 2019, and its harboring of at least three US fugitives.

The Secretary of State noted that by May 2020 the State Department had certified Cuba as not cooperating fully with US counterterrorism efforts.

Pompeo added that “the Cuban intelligence and security apparatus has infiltrated Venezuela’s security and military forces, assisting Nicholas [sic] Maduro to maintain his stranglehold over his people while allowing terrorist organizations to operate. The Cuban government’s support for FARC dissidents and the ELN continues beyond Cuba’s borders as well, and the regime’s support of Maduro has created a permissive environment for international terrorists to live and thrive within Venezuela.”

Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terror “subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with Cuba, restricts U.S. foreign assistance, bans defense exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual use items,” Pompeo said.

Cuba had been removed from the list in 2015 by the Obama administration; it had first been placed there in 1982 under Ronald Reagan.

After Sudan was recently removed, only three other countries are included on the list of a state sponsor of terrorism: North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla condemned the U.S. action in a tweet on Monday, calling it “hypocritical and cynical” and characterizing it as “political opportunism”.



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