A Guatemalan Church leader is afraid that peace will mean an end to international support for justice and reconciliation in Guatemala.
"Once peace has been signed on a piece of paper, we'll be left alone," warned Miguel Palacios, an Anglican priest and long-time peace activist in the country.
"Times of peace aren't as important as times of war" for international agencies, complained Fr Palacios. "War is a successful enterprise, easy to sell. But that's not the case with peace."
Fr Palacios told ALC that several European aid agencies are already making plans to transfer their attention--and assistance--to Cuba once a final peace treaty is agreed to here.
The Guatemalan priest made the comments during the second day of the Ecumenical Encounter for Peace in Mesoamerica, 9-12 October, gathering of more than 50 Catholic and Protestant Church leaders and activists from Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. The day was dedicated to hearing testimony from peacemakers in several countries of the war-torn region.
He recounted for participants the involvement of Church leaders here in the long and difficult process of negotiating peace between the military-dominated government and leftist guerrillas.
Fr Palacios said ecumenism was "never an objective of our participation in the peace process," but nonetheless became an unexpected fruit of working together with people from other Church backgrounds. "We broke down some walls while working together," he recalled.
Besides his warning about a possible cutback in international assistance during the postwar period, Mr Palacios also expressed concern that an amnesty will be approved in the final weeks of the peace talks. "An amnesty would only strengthen impunity and corruption," he warned.
Article by: Paul Jeffrey, ALC - Latin America and Caribbean Communications Agency