Saturday, January 28, 2012

Priest in Guatemala Shot, Killed After Having an Accident with Another Vehicle

Rev. David Donis, 70, a Catholic priest assigned to La Sagrada Familia Church in Oratorio, in the southeastern Guatemalan province of Santa Rosa, was fatally shot and killed on Friday (January 27) after getting involved in a traffic accident with another vehicle.

The victim’s brother, Vicente Donis, who is the sacristan at the church, told authorities that his brother, David, was at the wheel of their car when they collided with another vehicle while on the way to Guatemala City, a distance of roughly 58 kilometers, or 36 miles.

The two occupants of the other vehicle quickly proceeded to verbally abuse Father Donis before summarily shooting him in the chest and fleeing the scene.

COMMENT: Sadly, there are a number of very violent countries throughout Central America where daily life is comparable to the Old West in the 1880s. As I have mentioned to our readers of late, Honduras is considered to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but Guatemala is not far behind, where life itself is not particularly valued, even for clerics.

Given Oratorio's proximity to Guatemala City, our readers who reside in or travel frequently to Guatemala are urged to be particularly cautious in driving on roadways throughout the country, because incidents such as the one described above are not necessarily rare. Foreigners, in particular, should avoid driving in the country, unless they are comfortable with the driving environment, speak Spanish and understand the culture. If involved in a traffic accident, they can expect to be held at fault even if the facts say otherwise.

It is far more prudent to rent a vehicle with an experienced local driver than to try to adapt to a high-risk driving culture on-the-fly.

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