AMERICA/EL SALVADOR - Appeal of Salvadoran Bishops: Rights of migrants and responsible vote

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 bishops   episcopal conferences   violence   elections   politics   migrants   solidarity  

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San Salvador (Agenzia Fides) - A delegation of four bishops of El Salavador will travel to the United States to meet the Bishops of the country, with the aim of coordinating actions that help resolve the situation of Salvadoran migrants who are under the status of temporary protection (TPS, designed by the United States to help the citizens of countries affected by natural disasters or other internal problems): this is what the Bishops' Conference of the Salvadoran Bishops announced, at the conclusion of their ordinary assembly. As Fides learns, the situation of the many Salvadoran immigrants residing in the United States and the elections next March, were the two most important political and social issues faced by the Bishops.
On January 8, the United States declared that the 195,000 Salvadorans protected under the TPS will have time until September 2019 to leave the country or legalize their situation. But according to recent surveys, another 2 million Salvadorans live in the country. "Together with the American Bishops, who have supported us so much, we want to try to influence civil authorities, to find a solution that favors our Salvadoran brothers", explained the Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas, announcing the next trip to the USA.
"The recent statements by the President of the United States have deeply offended us", notes the final statement of the Bishops’ assembly, sent to Agenzia Fides, recalling the "offensive expressions" used by Trump referring to El Salvador and other countries. "We support the declaration of the Archbishop of San Salvador, in which he expresses the solidarity of the Church with our migrant brothers and asks respect for their dignity", the text continues.
"As Pastors of this people, we commit ourselves to accompany them in the struggle for their legitimate rights and, if necessary, we offer our support to those who might be forced to return home".
In this context of pain and uncertainty for the future of thousands of families, the nation is preparing to elect new deputies and mayors next March. In this regard, the Bishops write: "We have noticed apathy, disappointment and frustration among the people because many of our leaders have not respected what people expect and need". "Many consider politics as a practice characterized by demagogy, superficiality and corruption, at the expense of the population", the Bishops note. But the Bishops also highlight "signs of hope", recalling all the democratic institutions that fulfill their mission because "only in this way will politics recover its dignity".
The Salvadoran episcopate calls for "a free, responsible and conscious vote", asking citizens not to be carried away by propaganda messages or empty promises, and inviting them to seek "the common good, especially towards the poorest and most vulnerable" .
Hoping for a total rejection of all forms of violence, the Bishops say: "we also believe that poverty and exclusion can lead to violence, so we insist that every person has the right to the real possibility to improve, through education and decent work". (L.G) (Agenzia Fides, 30/01/2018)


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