Friday, March 4, 2011

Bishop Tatik Samuel Ruiz Garcia (1924-2011)

Samuel Ruiz García (3 November 1924 – 24 January 2011), called also Tatik (padre, father) served as bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from 1959 until 2000. His pastoral work and leadership in favor of poor and indigenous marginalized people of Chiapas has made a sustainable and systemic impact in the communities, life, dignity adn struggle for indigenous rights.

Samuel Ruiz, who was one of the founder of liberation theology in Latin American along with his friend Mons. Romero in El Salvador, contributed largely to dialogue between Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) and the Mexican Government. He also presided over the funeral of 45 members of the civil society group Las Abejas after the 1997 massacre in Acteal.

In 1996, Ruiz was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award and the Simón Bolívar International Prize from UNESCO in 2000 due to his efforts to fight poverty, exclusion, corruption, violence and for his help in the mutual understanding of Latin Americans.

Here is a nice Memoriam (in spanish) summarizing the impact that Tatic Samuel Ruiz had in Chiapas, the Catholic Church and the inspiration that he gave all of us who work for human rights and indigenous dignity. Samuel, like the martires of Acteal is still alive in the work of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights center and in the many lives and leaders her has inspired in his work and presence. Thank you, gracias, kolabal Tatik!!!