Church Hopes Rise In Oaxaca

The Rev. Carlos Salvador Wotto, an octogenarian priest in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, was murdered on July 28 at Our Lady of the Snows Parish. The Rev. Wilfrido Mayren Pelaez [pictured], director of the peace and reconciliation ministry of the Archdio-cese of Oaxaca, does not accept the government’s theory about the killing. “They disguised a murder as a robbery; there wasn’t enough money, enough things of value taken,” he said. The murder marked the latest in a series of attacks against priests, who have at times clashed with an outgoing state government controlled for the past 80 years by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, notorious for corruption, coercion and thuggery. But Oaxaca voted for change on July 4 when it opted for a four-party coalition headed by Gabino Cue Monteagudo. And the governor-elect has promised to do away with old I.R.P. vices, improve governance in one of Mexico’s most impoverished and least transparent states and provide justice in cases of human rights abuses. Church officials are among those with high expectations as they press to have crimes committed against priests fully investigated and finally resolved.

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