War´s End Didn´t Bring Calm to Guatemala

Violence and Corruption Grip Nation, Bishops Say

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GUATEMALA CITY, MAY 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Four years after the end of its bloody 36-year-old civil war, this Central American nation continues to be gripped by violence and corruption, its Catholic bishops say.



Last Friday, on the third anniversary of the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, the bishops´ conference published a document entitled "A Different Guatemala," in which they evaluate the status of this nation of 12.6 million people.

"We are no longer in the time of state terror and devastated land, forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions," the document stated, but this "does not mean that, as a country, we have overcome this phenomenon."

Analyzing the causes of the crisis, the bishops point out that economic, political and social inequalities continue unaddressed.

"The holders of power continue to be myopic and deaf to the urgent need for social changes in the country´s production structure," the bishops stressed.

"Corruption, waste and the shameless enrichment of public officials, the millions that the state spends to rescue banks linked to political power, tax evasion, and the disregard of labor laws, although not acts of violence in themselves, add to the climate that makes the phenomenon worse," they added.