Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Chiapas Smolders, Mexico Waits; Nuncio Accused of Fingering Priests and Nuns

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Chiapas Smolders, Mexico Waits; Nuncio Accused of Fingering Priests and Nuns

Article excerpt

CUERNAVACA, MEXICO - "Peace hangs by a thread,' said the Mexican Bishops' Commission on Reconciliation and Peace on Feb. 25th during its third visit to Chiapas since the Jan. 1 indigenous uprising. "It is not enough that there be formal accords, however firm. There must be a change of heart by the whole society."

The bishops spoke against a background of what some observers say is an increasing national instability. On Feb. 24, Mexico City alone witnessed 102 antigovernment marches demanding peace and clean elections.

On the same day in Chiapas, rumors that the government was unwilling to compromise with the EZLN, the Zapatista National Liberation Front, sent the peso plummeting for the first time in five years. In one hour it lost 4 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar. Only when President Carlos Salinas de Gortari publicly announced he supported negotiations did the peso regain part of its value.

In Chiapas Feb. 25, Subcommandante Marcos, the EZLN spokesperson, warned there are Zapatista groups in every part of the country near the boiling point. If there is no peace in Chiapas, then war will explode in every part of the country.

Political and economic unrest also had its counterpart within the church. Fr. Miguel Alvarez Gindara, a close collaborator of Bishop Samuel Ruiz of San Cristobal de las Casas, late last.month said in a talk that Archbishop Girolamo Prigione, the papal nuncio, was "exquisitely dangerous" and had for years "played dirty with the church in Mexico. …

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