The Social and Economic Development Association of Santa Maria (ADES) made a press release this week reporting that the Catholic priest, Father Luis Quintanilla, has been the victim of death threats and attempted kidnap and assault.
Father Luis Quintanilla was blocked by four hooded and armed men while driving his vehicle through the city of Sensuntepeque in the department of Cabañas. After the men forced him from his vehicle, the priest jumped into a gully, saving himself from being kidnapped or killed.
This is not the only violent activity that has occurred recently in Cabañas. In June, social activist Marcelo Rivera disappeared and was found weeks later brutally murdered with clear evidence of torture. Local radio station, Radio Victoria, has been reporting on the developments of this case, and several of its reporters have been issued death threats with references to Rivera’s fate. Father Luis Quintanilla received similar threats.
Father Luis Quintanilla is involved in many of the same social and resistance movements as Marcelo Rivera led such as the anti-mining movement and the social campaign against electoral fraud in San Isidro earlier this year.
Many social organizations and citizens of the area believe that the authorities are not responding in the appropriate manner to these events. The official report for Marcelo Rivera blames his murder on gang violence. However, family members, friends, and social organizations refuse to accept this as the truth. The people of Cabañas see this as negligence or a cover-up on the part of the police and government officials. Organizations and individuals have joined together in demanding that these cases are put under complete and extensive investigation.