Two Guatemalan bishops called for prayer and government action in the wake of the brutal slaying of 27 workers on a farm owned by an alleged drug kingpin in Peten Department in the country’s north. Most of the victims—men, women and several minors—were beheaded with machetes. Bishop Mario Fiandri of Peten, in a pastoral letter on May 18, called for an exhaustive investigation of the crime and described the massacre as the “ultimate barbaric expression of a generalized situation of violence and insecurity.” Many of the victims were from the area around Los Amates in the neighboring Izabal Department. They had traveled to Peten in search of work, said Izabal’s Bishop Gabriel Penate Rodríguez. “The victims are poor farmers who went to Peten to try to earn a living on the large farms there. They went seeking life and found death—a cruel death, committed with a brutality and barbarity that has no name,” Bishop Penate wrote in a statement issued on May 20.
Bishops Respond to Guatemala Massacre