May 3 is celebrated in various Latin American countries as the Day of the Cross. In El Salvador and Guatemala many erect shrines (often outside) of the Cross, decorated by flowers.
Today is also the twenty-fifth anniversary of the killing of the catechist Felipe Huete and four others in El Astillero, Honduras. They were killed for seeking land for poor campesinos.
In response, Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos and representatives to the national team for the Celebration of the Word issued a document where they note:
“The biblical texts chosen by Felipe [Huete] for the celebration [for May 3, entitled ‘From Injustice to Justice’] touched directly on his own situation. On the one hand he was inspired by the tremendous hope of owning land, not only for himself (Gen. 15:18 and Matt. 5: 1-4). On the other hand, he experienced the strength Christians feel in the midst of persecution and threats from the colonel’s bodyguards: ‘I say to you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body and can do no more. I tell you whom you should fear — fear the one who after killing has the power to cast you into hell. Yes, I repeat, fear that one.’”
Their killings weren’t the first, nor were they the last.
In 1975, two priests and six oithers, the martyrs of Los Horcones, were killed in Juticalpa, Olancho, Honduras.
At the beginning of March, Berta Cáceres was murdered for her advocacy of the indigenous Lenca and their defense of creation, especially a river threatened by plans to build a large dam.
Recently a priest of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán and others in the parish of Macuelizo received death threats for their opposition to a mining project.
A prominent opposition journalist, Felix Medina, was shot yesterday and is now hospitalized – the most recent of many persecuted journalists.
There are many others who have been killed or suffered persecution for their advocacy of the poor, against injustice, impunity, and corruption, especially in the last few years.