The residents of a small Indian village in the Chiapas province have organised protests and even set up roadblocks in an effort to block a pastoral visit by Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia.
    Catholic World News reports that residents of the town of Oxchuc threatened that they would use force, if necessary, to prevent the bishop's visit. They said that Bishop Ruiz is an "enemy of the people." The bishop was finally able to enter the town only after obtaining police protection. Rodolfo Soto, the secretary of the Chiapas state government, issued orders for local police to "take precautionary measures to protect the public order and preserve the peace in Oxchuc during the appearances by Bishop Ruiz."
    Bishop Ruiz has been the focus of heated controversy in Mexico for several years, because of accusations that he has supported the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas. The Oxchuc natives who objected to his visit offered the same complaint, adding that the bishop had sent catechists and missionary priests to urge them to side with the rebels. Supporters of the bishop complained in turn that Oxchuc was a stronghold of support for the government in its efforts to crush the rebels.

1:06pm 10/5/99 / Catholic World News


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