From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Assault on Presbyterian Missionary in El Salvador

Date 04 May 1996 15:23:08


96076   Assault on Presbyterian Missionary in El Salvador 
                   Is Still under Investigation 
                          by Alexa Smith 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officials are still unclear 
whether the Feb. 2 shooting of a mission worker in El Salvador was 
politically related or a random assault. 
     The Rev. Alejandro Hernandez, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission 
worker with the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod, was shot in the face on the 
night of Feb. 2 during what might have been a failed car robbery. 
Hernandez is in stable condition and is recovering from reconstructive 
surgery on his jaw. 
     "It's a very confusing period [here]," the Rev. Walter A. Baires of 
the Salvadoran Lutheran Church told the Presbyterian News Service.  "It 
could be just a robbery or it could be political." 
     Baires said the Lutheran Church is "pushing" police to look into the 
case carefully, even though a formal investigation may not begin until 
Hernandez is able to make a statement. Hernandez's case is questionable to 
some because he is an El Savadoran national who represented the Lutheran 
bishop in public demonstrations both during and after the war there, 
according to Baires. 
     "We're pretty sure it wasn't robbery because they didn't take anything 
from him," Baires said, adding that crimes like car robbery are not 
uncommon these days in El Salvador -- but neither is retaliation for 
political activity during the war years.  
     Julia Ann Moffett, Worldwide Ministries Division coordinator for 
Central America, agrees it is hard to determine why Hernandez was 
assaulted.  "We know in Central America some things that seem to be common 
delinquency are not.  On the other hand, we don't want to make [something] 
more than it is. ... 
     "That's always the tension we live with in these situations." 
     Moffett said El Salvador -- a country roughly the size of Maryland -- 
is still tense following 12 years of civil war.  She said guns are easy to 
get and that the government has not followed through on its promises to 
provide land for combatants to farm at the war's end.  More than 70 percent 
of El Salvador's people live in deep poverty. 
     Hernandez is the only PC(USA) mission worker in El Salvador. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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