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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Church under siege

Lutherans in Guatemala are harassed, threatened

In Guatemala, a land accustomed to violence and oppression, many people expect corruption from leaders. That may be why Lutherans in La Isla, a poor neighborhood of Guatemala City, continue to receive harassment, intimidation and threats — unchecked.

"This is the land of impunity," says Horacio Castillo, president of the Augustinian Lutheran Church in Guatemala and pastor of its six congregations. "If you have the proper connections, you can do anything without fear of consequences."

Ten years ago, the newly settled town welcomed the Lutherans, allocating seven lots for a church building, school, clinic, training center and community library. Development hit an early snag in 1992 when a member of Guatemala's ruling class claimed ownership of the entire settlement.


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