Bishops in Bolivia call on authorities to act against land seizures

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

 

Conflicts are escalating due to land grabbing in Bolivia. / Credit: Secretariat of Sustainable Development and Environment of Santa Cruz

CNA Newsroom, Dec 13, 2022 / 14:30 pm (CNA).

On the Third Sunday of Advent, Bolivian bishops reflected on the need to end conflicts over land seizures in order to have a peaceful Christmas, given the climate of tension that continues in the region.

The archbishop of Santa Cruz, René Leigue Cesarí, addressed the authorities in his Dec. 11 homily, asking them to find a solution to achieve peace and true unity.

The prelate referred to the conflict over the seizure of land in the Santa Cruz area, where authorities were present and promised to seek police support and protect the Kim family, owners of the land taken.

Last Thursday, a group of citizens went to the place to remove the illegal occupants and a confrontation ensued, leaving at least two injured.

“These days we have experienced some very difficult times with the encroachment” or land takeovers, the archbishop acknowledged, warning that the situation once again caused problems in the streets.

“It would seem that we have already passed these moments, but here we go again,” he said, referring to the conflicts experienced in recent times due to the date fixed for the population census.

Protesters are demanding that the census, which was supposed to be carried out in 2022, be carried out next year, given the government’s attempt to reschedule it for 2024.

Taking the census is important because of the information it will provide for determining the distribution of economic resources and representation in Congress, which will depend on the number of inhabitants of each department (administrative district). Voting is compulsory in Bolivia, and so voter rolls will also be affected for the general elections of 2025.

“The Church doesn’t invent things,” Archbishop Leigue Cesarí continued, but says “what Jesus has taught us, what God wants for us.”

“If we want to seek peace, but offering judgments here, there, to those who do not think the same way as they do, it’s not the way to find peace,” he stressed.

Don’t lose hope for better times

The bishop of Beni and president of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference, Aurelio Pesoa, said in his Sunday homily that “in the face of political and social conflicts in the world,” Catholics “are called not to lose hope for better times.”

The prelate referred to “the biased and favorable justice for some and slow for others, the violent encroachments in Santa Cruz and in our district, Beni, with one dead and with people hurt and suffering from the abuse and violence.”

“Today like yesterday, humanity hopes someone will come to its aid bringing what we need most: love, forgiveness, dialogue, tolerance, understanding, to counteract hatred, violence,” he stressed.

Denounce all injustice

From the city of La Paz, the bishop of El Alto and deputy secretary general of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference, Giovani Arana, lamented that reality is marked by pain, violence, and division.

“This year is over and we see that our authorities have done little to eradicate so many signs of suffering, the rates of violence against women and children are rising, there are many who continue to suffer injustice because they see how those who enjoy power continue to be favored,” he pointed out.

Faced with reality and people suffering, he encouraged them to be strong and patient, “decrying all injustice” and being the voice of those who are silenced or intimidated.

Finally, he exhorted the faithful to “wait for the coming of the Lord with joy, not falling into discouragement,” and encouraged sharing with others, looking at them as brothers.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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  1. Bishops in Bolivia call on authorities to act against land seizures | Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph (FSJ) , Asumbi Sisters Kenya
  2. Bishops in Bolivia call on authorities to act against land seizures | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers

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