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March In Remembrance of Murdered Activist Priest 48 Years Ago

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Murdered activist priest’s remains  not identified

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Marches take place in Veraguas on June 9 every year. to mark the murder of Father Gallero

Posted 09/06/2019

48 years after the disappearance of a Colombian Catholic priest who supported agricultural workers in their struggles with landowners in Santa Fe de Veraguas his remains have still not been identified.

Héctor Gallego, who founded the Cooperativa La Esperanza del Campesino, was arrested freedom, tortured and murdered on the night of June 9, 1971, in Santa Fe, by soldiers of the then National Guard.

Gallego, born in a small town in Antioquia in 1938, came to Panama with a specific mission: to dignify the exploited peasants, which immediately alienated him with the landowners in the area, who accused him of being a communist  The historian Omar Jaén told Acan-Efe News Agency  that the Torrijos regime "overvalued the threat of Father Gallego" and that his disappearance weakened him both internally, where he tried to consolidate his "revolution", and in the negotiations with the United States for the recovery of the Panama Canal.

Gallego is one of 110 victims officially identified by a commission that investigated the Panamanian dictatorship, which began in 1968 with a military coup and ended in 1989 with a bloody US  invasion although it is believed that there are many more “disappeared”

Three soldiers were convicted in 1993 in the Gallero  case, but no trace of his body was found

Investigations of the Public Ministry now indicate that some bones found in 1999 belong to the priest.

Edilma Gallego, sister of the priest said that she is disappointed not to get an official version of the  DNA test.

"Nothing is official, I have not received any Legal Medicine document or the Public Ministry to confirm," said Edilma, who added that she has  only information that other people had sent 

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/murdered-activist-priests-remains-not-identified

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OPINION: Beacon of Hope Eliminated

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Manuelo Noriega was a colonel in charge of intelligence in the National Guard when Gallego was killed

Posted 09/06/2019

Héctor Gallego has been disappeared for half a century His relatives, with justified reason, still claim his remains and the explanation of the events that occurred that day k that the now nonexistent National Guard killed him. In memory of the Colombian priest, the population of Santa Fe, in Veraguas, carries out activities today, but that is not enough by itself. The forced disappearances perpetrated during the military dictatorship must be clarified, including judicially, in order to reach true reconciliation. While the doubts remain about this and dozens more of disappearances and murders, there will be no forgiveness.

The authorities have not been able to complete the identification of human remains - presumably of people whom the Guard kidnapped and later assassinated - who wait for a government to take seriously the completion of this task. The relatives of the victims deserve to conclude the uncertainty, and society needs to know what happened to all of them. Héctor Gallego was a beacon of hope for hundreds of peasants in Veraguas, land that welcomed the priest, and then violently snatched by the unscrupulous military, unable to recognize today their lack of courage, not only for having committed an abominable act but for the endeavor to hide the truth. Keeping silence to the grave is not a noble action. On the contrary, it is an act of cowardice. - LA PRENSA. June 9

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-beacon-of-hope-eliminated

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