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Development Project Helps Former Acteal Prisoners Adjust to Freedom

June 2, 2016 by Open Doors in Latin America/Caribbean

On December 22, 1997, 45 Tzotzil Indians were murdered during an armed confrontation in the Acteal area of Chiapas, Mexico. The victims, mostly women and children, belonged to the indigenous organization Las Abejas-The Bees. Ninety people were convicted and imprisoned for murder, aggravated assault, and unauthorized possession of firearms restricted to military use. Of those 90, 83 were unjustly accused and convicted. Six were later acquitted, and one died, reducing the number to 76 falsely imprisoned men, mostly evangelical Christians, serving sentences of 26 to 36 years in a maximum-security prison.

All of the falsely imprisoned believers have now been found innocent and released from prison, but their re-entry into society has been difficult for many of them. All face major family adjustments and most have been forced to move to unfamiliar areas. For some it has meant adjusting to new jobs, and for others, to having no work at all. All of these challenges are compounded by the fact that they are also recovering from the psychological trauma of being incarcerated unjustly for many years.

Open Doors in Mexico has come alongside these overwhelmed brothers in Christ, providing support for a social-economic development project designed by former Acteal prisoners. The project teaches the former prisoners to make and sell hammocks, using traditional indigenous craftsmanship. The revenue from the sale of the hammocks helps provide this group of former Acteal prisoners with a means of supporting themselves and their families. Please pray for these Christian brothers.

Thank You, Father, for the release of these innocent men and for Your sustaining power in their lives over these last years. And thank You for the creative minds You have given them to design this project to raise money needed for the necessities of life. We pray that You will prosper them in their work and even increase the projects they can work on. Keep them safe, heal their minds of the trauma, and heal the relationships in their families. We pray that they, along with their families, will thrive where You have placed them and that all will see that You have done it. In the name of Jesus who is their sure anchor of home now, even as He has been during their entire ordeal. Amen.

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