Chiapas Bishop Pleads for Guerrilla Leader´s Safety

But Denies Marcos´ Attacks Against Mexican Prelates

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SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico, FEB. 28, 2001 ( A Church leader in Chiapas called for the protection of guerrilla leader Marcos´ life, despite the Zapatista´s recent attacks on the nation´s bishops.

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristóbal de las Casas, speaking on behalf of the country´s bishops, called for Subcomandante Marcos´ safety, not because the Church is linked to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, but because it is intent on peace.

Marcos is now leading a march of guerrilla leaders from the state of Chiapas to Mexico City to present claims to the Congress.

«We are concerned about Mexico and Chiapas,» Bishop Arizmendi told the Mexican press Tuesday. He pointed out that the Church is offended by the comments made recently by Marcos, who said that among the bishops there is corruption, lies, abuse and robbery.

«This discrediting is hurtful because it does not correspond to reality,» the bishop said. «Over the past seven years, the bishops have written innumerable documents and made many statements in support of peace.» He added that Marcos´ statements «are part of what the Gospel tells us: Sometimes we suffer persecution for peace.»

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