Uruguay: Death of Perico

During the long dictatorship in Uruguay, 1973-1984, Luis Pérez Aguirre SJ bravely supported the victims of injustice and the relatives of the disappeared, and was himself twice imprisoned. But after the military granted itself an amnesty and democracy eventually returned, despite his best efforts a national referendum to overturn the self-amnesty was defeated. Born in 1941 and ordained in 1970, ?Perico?, as everyone called him, served as Novice Master and later worked full-time against impunity and for human rights and reconciliation. He founded the Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ) in Uruguay and was an expert to the UN Human Rights Commission. During the repressive years, he helped to establish ?La Huella,? a community in the countryside for children whose parents had disappeared. Now home for youngsters in difficulty, it was also Perico?s home community. On summer holiday with La Huella, on 25 January he went out on his bicycle, was hit by a bus and instantly killed. His funeral, presided over by the Archbishop, was attended by thousands of people including the President of the Republic. All came to honour a great lover of the poor and a fool for justice, a friend and priest of Jesus the Crucified, a prophet of serene and insistent hope. [HL10206]