News Archives » latin america
Oblates from Latin America share their faith experience on justice, peace and the integrity of creation July 26th, 2016
By Fr. Miguel Pipolo, OMI
The OMI 1982 Constitutions and Rules made a point to introduce the ministry of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation as a main preoccupation of its members. It is good to remember this as we go through the third year of the Oblate Triennium. This ministry cannot be absent from our missionary activity. I hope that sharing our experience in Latin America will help other Oblates in their desire to serve the poor wherever we are.
The economic and social policies in the long Latin American colonial period in Latin America were meant to keep the poor people under the rule of the governing class. Economic and social tragedies were not lacking. These policies affected in depth the poor and the most abandoned in the region. Unspeakable torture and deaths have occurred everywhere, but especially in the countries of Central America and Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, the so-called “southern cone” of high material wealth. And this happened in a supposedly Catholic continent.
The Oblates working in Latin America shared the lot of the poor; its pastoral work suffered a turn-about of 360 degrees following the II Vatican Council. The Church was with the poor, even if some bishops were not interested in speaking out in their favor. Many bishops were exemplary shepherds, like Bishop Helder Camara of Recife, Brazil. No suffering was lacking.
Church representatives vow to defend Latin American areas with mines December 11th, 2014
Thanks to Catholic New Service for this article, which was written by Lise Alves
SAO PAULO (CNS) — Christian leaders from 14 Latin American countries gathered in Brasilia in early December to discuss ways to reduce the impact of mining activities in their communities, especially the contamination of rivers and lakes.
“There is no large-scale industrial mining without water,” said Bishop Guilherme Werlang of Ipameri, president of the Brazilian bishops’ social justice and charity commission. But the bishops say materials used in mineral extraction contaminate groundwater, rivers and lakes in mining regions.
“It has been proven that these toxic materials will remain in the soil and in the water during many centuries,” said Bishop Werlang.
A three-day conference dubbed “Church and Mining: An Option in Defense of Communities and Territories,” was the first of its kind in the region. The conference had the support of the Brazilian bishops’ conference and the participation of the Latin American Council of Churches as about 90 participants tried to define strategies and alliances to reduce the impact of mining activities.
“We discussed the threats, challenges and insecurities that local and indigenous communities throughout Latin America are experiencing where mining companies are operating,” said Oblate Father Seamus Finn of the Oblates’ Washington-based Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry.
Click here to read more »
Action Alert: Keep Human Rights Tied to US Military Aid November 5th, 2013
Thanks to the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) for the information in this Action Alert.
Some members of Congress who oversee foreign aid want to eliminate human rights conditions tied to military and police assistance for Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala. These conditions are an important means to try to ensure the United States does not do business with human rights violators.
Unfortunately, rape, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, torture, and other grave human rights violations continue to be committed by members of the armed forces of Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.
- Colombia: Of the over 3,000 extrajudicial executions allegedly committed by members of the security forces, the vast majority remains unpunished.
- Honduras: 149 civilians have been killed by the police in the past two years alone. As violence has soared, so has impunity. Crimes committed by both police and military personnel have not been investigated.
- Mexico: Since 2006, when former President Calderón deployed tens of thousands of soldiers across Mexico to take on public security matters in an effort to combat organized crime, Mexico has seen a significant increase in the number of reports of human rights violations committed by Mexican armed forces. Between 2003 and 2006, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) received 691 complaints of human rights violations committed by the armed forces. This figure surged to 4,803 reports of human rights violations between 2010 and 2012.
- Guatemala: The military is increasingly used for law enforcement, leading to abuses. In October 2012 soldiers fired on and killed 6 indigenous protestors and wounded 34. The military continues to fail to fully cooperate with investigations into human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces during the civil war.
VIVAT to Promote Regional Networking in Latin America July 7th, 2009
VIVAT International will be holding a Workshop in Cochabamba, Bolivia from July 19th to the 24th for some of the eight Congregational members who work in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The workshop will inform participants about VIVAT: what VIVAT is, its purpose and goals, and its achievements at the United Nations.
The main aim of the workshop, however, will be to allow members of the different Congregations to get to know each other and to share information about their work. The hope is that participants will form networks for greater effectiveness and better results in their ministries locally, nationally, regionally and with the UN.
Oblate pastors of Latin America, meeting in Lima, Peru on April 20-25, 2009, published the following declaration: Protecting and Respecting the Amazon, we protect the indigenous. The declaration was signed by 41 Oblates and 2 diocesan priests.
Click here to read more »