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Letter to Ambassador Mulet Regarding Killings in Alta Verapaz


October 13, 1995 

His Excellency Edmond Mulet
Ambassador of Guatemala
2220 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008 

Dear Ambassador Mulet: 

I wish to join my voice with that of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala in deploring the terribly tragic events that occurred on the fifth of this month in the returnee settlement, "Aurora 8 de Octubre," in the municipality of Chisec in the Alta Verapaz. 

The deaths of nearly a dozen unarmed men and women, including two children, and the wounding of many more is tragedy enough. If this event should prove to reflect policy on the part of elements of the armed forces, or if it leads to disruption of the return process that seems to have been progressing reasonably well, the tragedy will be compounded. 

The dismissal by President Ramiro de León Carpio of his Minister of Defense would seem to be an appropriate start in clarifying and rectifying the events of October 5. The statement of the Catholic bishops, issued on October 8, the first anniversary of the return of this community named Aurora 8 de Octubre, suggests what more remains to be done. 

The bishops insist that, first of all, the truth of the matter be determined and made known, that the offenders be identified and punished, that the families of the victims be compensated, that the civilian nature of the returnee population be reaffirmed, and that the returnee areas be fully and truly demilitarized. I earnestly commend the bishops' demands to the thoughtful consideration of Your Excellency's government. 

With expressions of good will, I am 

Sincerely yours,

+Daniel P. Reilly
Bishop of Worcester
Chairman, USCC Committee on International Policy 

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