Church Appeals for Peace After Bolivia's Leader Quits

LA PAZ, Bolivia, OCT. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Bolivia’s bishops responded to President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada’s resignation with an appeal for peace.

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Journalist Carlos Mesa, the new president, took office Saturday, hours after a popular uprising prompted the resignation of Sánchez de Lozada. Mesa faces the challenge of the country’s social disintegration and the need to redress the balance of existing injustices.

Moments after Sánchez de Lozada left the presidency Friday, the Bolivian bishops’ conference published a statement making «a vehement appeal for peace and serenity.»

«The defense of life and democracy must be the priority at present as indispensable values that will mark our present and future,» said the document, signed by Bishop Jesús Juárez, secretary-general of the conference.

Popular upheavals recently broke out over the plan to export natural gas through a Chilean port. The unrest, which lasted a month, left 74 dead and 200 wounded.

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