Canadian Jesuits International hosted a public meeting via video link with Fr Roberto Jaramillo SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of Provincials in Latin America. The topic of the 21 February event was “Latin America: Struggles, Solidarity, Hope.”
Fr Roberto has a PhD in Anthropology (EHESS/Paris). He worked for 18 years in the Amazonian region of Brazil and is the former coordinator of the Social Apostolate for the Jesuits in Latin America.
More than 50 people were in attendance for the event in Toronto while Fr Roberto spoke with them from San Salvador. Fr Roberto gave an overview of current struggles in Latin America and also of solidarity and hope through social programs of the Jesuits. Two question-and-answer sessions took place during his presentation.
In his talk, Fr Roberto identified five major challenges that he sees as central in the region: corruption in institutional processes; lack of professionalism in public institutions; lack of evaluation procedures in formal mechanisms of representation; a general dilution of social ties; and the detrimental influence of religious fundamentalism on public life and civil rights.
Finally, Fr Roberto spoke about the social justice work that the Jesuits are engaged in throughout Latin America. This included a number of projects that CJI supports such as indigenous people’s rights in Mexico, civil society engagement in Honduras, support for the peace process and internally displaced people in Colombia, solidarity with indigenous youth, and Comparte.
Event resources for review/further learning:
- An overview of CJI’s work in Latin America
- Video excerpts from Fr Roberto’s presentation
- A photo essay (in Spanish) produced by the Indigenous Solidarity Network in Latin America
- Focus on Jesuit work in Chiapas, Mexico
(Banner photo by CJI: A question for Fr Roberto at the event on 21 February 2018).