Saturday, October 07, 2006

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Bishops battle over Oaxaca

Archbishop Raul Vera of Saltillo, a clerical "liberal" -- and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez of Guadelajara, a "conservative" -- both want the Oxaca situation solved now. While it's still unusual to see churchmen commenting on political issues, what's very odd is the open disagreement between them. Vera blames the political parties for protecting Governor Ruiz, whom he says "no longer has anything to do" and is just "delying his exit" . He says the state has been kidnapped from the people by the politicans, who -- like in Morelos, where corrupt PAN governor Sergio Estrada Cajigal remained in office by openly bribing state legislators to vote against his impeachment despite his known ties to organized crime and huge demonstrations against him (and where one municipality overthrew the local government and set up a people's municipality which the State attempted to put down by force), the Saltillo archbisop called the government response a "terrorist tactic". "Neither the nation nor the people of Oaxaca should run the risk of violence just to protect the career of Ulises Ruiz," he said. Vera was formerly Co-adjucator Bishop of Chiapas. Chiapas bishops have a tradition, going back to their first bishop, Bartelemo de las Casas, of defending the people against the ruling powers. Las Casas was America's first investigative reporter. His letters to the King and the Pope, later published as "The Destruction of the Indies" ended both Indian slavery and led the Pope to publish a Bull, Sublimis Deus (1537) settling the question of the Indian's souls once and forever. In Catholic America, anyway, the Indians were people, who might be exploited and cheated and abused by the powers that be... but unlike in the English-speaking parts of the Americas, they were not pushed aside, killed off and forced into reservations. Samuel Ruiz, the former Bishop of Chiapas (and Vera's sometimes collaborator) was forced into early retirement by Pope John-Paul II, in part because of the Mexican government's complaints that Ruiz was giving aid and comfort to the Zapatistas (Bishop Ruiz used to keep a state map in his office, showing non-Zapatista regions as "occupied territory"). Meanwhile, Cardinal Sandoval -- whose best known political act was organizing street protests when he was indicted for interfering with a murder investigation (his predecessor was assassinated, either by mistake [both the late Cardinal and the local crime boss drove black Buick Rivieras] or to cover up... something. Sandoval tried to pass off forged evidence suggesting a government plot. The prosecutor was looking into ties between the Guadalajara Archdiocese and narcotics trafficers) is a law and order man. He spoke to a miliary group, defending the state's right to defend against aggression, foreign and domestic. Jesus Christ was not available for comment.


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