AMERICA - In Chile and Peru, private meetings of indigenous representatives with the Pope

Friday, 5 January 2018 pope francis   indigenous   civil society  

Temuco (Chile) - In the next visit to Chile and Peru (January 15 to 21), on two occasions the Pope will have lunch, in private, with a small group of representatives of the indigenous peoples, historically persecuted, discriminated and deprived of their rights. In Temuco, "the Pope has asked to meet with ordinary people and representatives of the community of Aucanía", confirmed to Agenzia Fides the local Commission spokesman for the apostolic visit, lay professor Arturo Hernández Sallés.
The Pontiff "wants to know the local reality directly from the source", he said. Araucania is the land historically claimed by the Mapuches, people who declared war on the Spanish invaders (colonizers, from the European point of view) since the sixteenth century, and the conflict, today with the Chilean government, is not yet resolved. The Church is seen by some of them as a possible mediator and by others as an accomplice of the State.
The situation is very different in Peru where, especially in the Amazon region, the natives are mostly Catholics or Christians from other Churches, and their very existence is threatened by illicit exploitation of natural resources. Here, in Puerto Maldonado, there will be nine representatives of the Amazonian native communities who will have lunch with the Pope in private. This was revealed by the Deputy Secretary of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, Fr. Guillermo Inca. This meeting, together with the one with about 3,500 indigenous people in the Coliseo Madre de Dios sports hall (see Agenzia Fides 15/12/2017), will also be fundamental for the preparation of the Special Synod for the Panamazon region organized by the Holy Father for October 2019. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 05/01/2018)