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Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:38 AM

The U.S. Empire & Modern Day Christian Martyrs

February 21, 2013
80th Priest Killed in Colombia Since 1984

The U.S. Empire & Modern Day Christian Martyrs

by DANIEL KOVALIK

In their landmark book, Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman devote a chapter to the media’s unbalanced coverage of the murder of one priest in Poland in 1984 as compared to the coverage of the 72 religious killed throughout Latin America between 1964 and 1978, the killing of 23 religious in Guatemala between 1980 and 1985, the murder of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador in 1980 and the rape and murder of the 4 U.S. Church women in El Salvador in 1980. In short, the murder of the one Polish priest — the perpetrators of which were tried, convicted and sentenced to prison — received significantly more coverage than all of the latter killings, which almost invariably remain unsolved and unpunished, combined.

Meanwhile, there has been almost no media coverage of the killings of the “two bishops, 79 priests, eight men and women religious, as well as three seminarians” killed in Colombia alone between 1984 and 2011 – this, according to the Episcopal Conference of Colombia. (1) The Episcopal Conference of Colombia publicly announced this grave tally in the fall of 2011 upon the murder of the sixth priest killed in 2011 alone. One of the priests killed in 2011 was Father Reynel Restrepo Idarraga, the pastor of the town of Marmato, who was murdered by presumed paramilitaries in retaliation for his vocal defense of Marmato against the attempt of the Canadian mining company, Gran Colombia Gold, which to this day is still attempting to seize the land of the entire town and convert into a gold mine. The Colombian Bishops attributed the rash of killings in 2011 to “the courageous commitment of our priests to the prophetic denunciation of injustice and the cause of the poorest in the country.”

The number of priests killed in Colombia since 1984 just climbed to 80 with the murder of Father Luis Alfredo Suarez Salazar on Feb. 2, 2013 by two unknown assailants in the northern Colombian city of Ocana. (2)

Then, on February 13, 2013, there was an assassination attempt against another Catholic priest. The target of the attack was Father Alberto Franco, a member of the Inter-Church Commission of Justice & Peace (CIJP), an organization created in 1988 pursuant to the resolution of the Conference of Religious Superiors of Colombia which aspired “o promote and encourage the Christian prophetic signs which are present in religious communities, through the creation of a Commission of Justice and Peace which will channel and disseminate information and protests throughout the country.” (3) As Father Javier Giraldo, S.J., a founding member of the CIJP, relates in The Genocidal Democracy, while the Colombian Catholic Conference of Bishops “did not approve of this initiative and placed obstacles in its path,” 25 Catholic provincials nonetheless went ahead with the formation of the CIJP. (4)

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/21/the-u-s-empire-modern-day-christian-martyrs/

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