From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Volunteers Sought to "Accompany" Widow of
04 May 1996 15:25:08
96061 Volunteers Sought to "Accompany" Widow of
Guatemalan Death Squad Victim
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Presbyterians who are willing to accompany the threatened
widow of a murdered Guatemalan pastor are asked to immediately contact the
denomination's Office for Central America and the Caribbean, according to
its coordinator, Julia Ann Moffett.
Moffett said constant surveillance of the home of Maria Francesca
Saquic is under way in Guatemala City, where Saquic fled with her five
children after her husband, the Rev. Manuel Saquic, was tortured and
murdered last spring for his human rights work in the mountain town of
Manuel Saquic is the second Presbyterian to be killed in
Chimaltenango. Though 5,000 wanted posters have been distributed and a
$3,000 reward has been offered for the apprehension of his alleged killer,
former Chimaltenango military commissioner Victor Roman remains a fugitive.
"I think we would use the word stalking' here," said Moffett,
describing what is happening to Saquic's widow. "Trucks and cars sit in
front of her house. ... They're trying to scare her to death so the whole
thing [the investigation into her husband's death] will be dropped.
"But she's an innocent bystander," said Moffett, adding that pressure
for prosecution of Saquic's alleged killer is coming from Kaqchiquel
The National Evengelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala has
requested accompaniment for Saquic for the next three months from the
United Church of Canada (UCC), the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The UCC has one accompanier in place until
February 22, according to Moffett. The PC(USA) has been asked to keep an
accompanier in the Saquic home from February 22 through the end of March.
Moffett said accompaniers may be men or women who are able to speak
Spanish and who are flexible and comfortable with children.
She said PC(USA) accompaniers' costs will be picked up by the Mission
Volunteer Program and by Presbyterian World Service's disaster and
emergency relief funds. Accompaniers may serve two week cycles.
"I think what we're doing," said Moffett of accompaniment, "is saying
to the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala -- and
specifically to the widow Saquic -- that her life is important and that the
threats that she is experiencing she doesn't have to experience alone.
We're saying the same thing to those who are following her: She's not
alone. ... "
Moffett said working as an accompanier in Guatemala is not without
risk, but accompaniment has proven in the past to be effective in
Church accompaniment of the Rev. Lucio Martinez of Chimaltenango ended
in late December. Martinez and two other presbytery members received death
threats after pushing for prosecution in the Saquic murder case.
The Office of Central America and the Caribbean can be reached by
calling Julia Ann Moffett at (502) 569-5316.
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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