Mexico: Josué Ramírez Santiago

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, some 500 worshippers were gathered for a worship service at the Christian Center El Shaddai in the Mexican city of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacan at about 8:15 AM when four masked men burst in firing machine guns into the air. Before the frightened believers realized what was happening, their pastor, Josué Ramírez Santiago, had been whisked away. The following day, the pastor’s family received news that the criminals wanted a ransom of 20 million pesos (US$1.7 million). Even if the family could raise such an immense sum – considered doubtful – payment would not guarantee that the victim would be returned alive.

Organized crime syndicates and drug cartels have targeted Christians because they view churches as revenue centers and because churches support programs for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcoholics. Furthermore, some 100 Mexican or foreign pastors who lived in Ciudad Juarez have had to abandon the city because of the threats and demands for money, and many pastors and their families have been victims of extortion, threats, kidnapping and homicide. 100 Mexican clergymen have been kidnapped in recent years, with 15 of them losing their lives to organized crime. 
Michoacan, the state where the abduction of Pastor Ramirez Santiago took place, has been a center of much criminal activity and also of severe reprisals by elements of the Mexican army.

Suspected Drug Traffickers Kidnap Pastor (CDN 15.4.11)

1 comment:

Ellie Finlay said...

This is horrible. I knew that kidnapping was a terrible problem in Mexico but I didn't realize the clergy were being particularly targeted.