We walk together in solidarity with a poverty-stricken community in Tonacatepeque, El Salvador. Today the pastor of the church in the community sent us an e-mail which brings into sharp, personal focus the pain of a community plagued with gangs.
The church and community of Los Heroes is again in mourning. On Sunday, May 8th, a woman named Rosa Ramirez and her son Oscar Ramirez, sister and nephew of Angelita Ramirez Zelada, member of the Lutheran Church, "Heroes de la Fe" of Tonacatepeque were brutally killed by male members of the Mara 18 gang.
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 10th, Mother's Day (in El Salvador), in the midst of crying, sadness, and the mysteries of pain, we buried them in the cemetery of Tonacatepeque. In the midst of extreme poverty, this has been such a difficult burden of pain for Angelita, the grandmother Josefina, and children, Marta, Guadalupe, Maria, Angela, Luis, Jorge and other family members.
There is anguish, fear, confusion and uncertainty in the Ramirez family. Luis is afraid that something is going to happen to his mother or to others in his family. The youth and families in the community Los Heroes are threatened. The community Los Heroes is unjustly being the victim of violence. The Lutheran Church Los Heroes, the directiva of the community, the affected families and those at major risk... we all are thinking, "What can we do?" ...
In the last months, the statistics of violence in some departments, cities and municipalities have increased considerably. In contradiction, major newspapers like La Prensa Grafica are greatly publicizing the prevention of violence. In the same manner, the government has launched publicity campaigns about its programs of the "super firm hand", the "friendly hand," the secretary of youth and the violence. But crime continues to grow.
I ask you for your prayers for the families of Los Heroes who have suffered the loss of their loved ones and also I ask for your thoughts so that God may illumine our minds and our hearts.
I believe that it is urgent to call President Elias Antonio Saca and the different governmental institutions, the Ministry of Governance, the District Attorney, the Attorney General, and the National Police, in order that they deepen the investigations of the crimes on buses and the massacres of families in the last 3 months of 2005.
A news article about the murders is here.