In paragraph 78, the bishops note the rise in violence in the region.
Social life, in harmonious and peaceful coexistence, is deteriorating very seriously in many Latin American and Caribbean countries, due to the rise in violence, which takes the form of robberies, muggings, kidnappings, and even more seriously, murders, which every day destroy more human lives and fill families and all of society with sorrow.
They list various types of violence:
Violence takes on various forms and has different agents:
organized crime and drug trafficking, paramilitary groups,
common crime, especially on the outskirts of large cities,
violence of youth gangs, and growing domestic violence.
Two other types of violence I have encountered are the violence of revenge and the violence of feuds between families, often fueled by an initial act of violence against one member of an extended family.
There is no mention in this paragraph of guerrilla forces that were active in the last fifty years and are still active, at least in Colombia, though this is briefly noted in paragraph 81.
There is also no mention of violence by governmental forces. In the last four decades of the twentieth century, this was a significant problem throughout Latin America, related to the authoritarian governments in the region. Often governmental police and military units coordinated their efforts with death squads. Though that era is over, there are still occasions when the police or the military use violence. At times the violence is due to the actions of individual police or soldiers, acting in a criminal manner. But the militarization of the police in several nations may lead to violence against civilians. In addition, there is always the danger of a government using the police to repress protesting sectors of the society.
The bishops continue, listing causes:
The causes are many:
worship of money,
the advance of an individualistic and utilitarian ideology,
disrespect for the dignity of each person,
a deterioration of the social fabric,
corruption even of law-enforcement entities,
and lack of government policies of social justice.
Though the bishops mention “lack of government policies of social justice,” as a cause, one might add, making this more specific, the lack of an efficient justice system, the lack of trained police, the militarization of police forces, and impunity.
Since the Aparecida conference, violence has increased in some parts of Latin America.
But, as far as I can see, the document offers no comprehensive analysis of violence, including its social roots – something which is really needed.