X-rays give us an inside picture of something, but they must be read or interpreted to obtain a real understanding of what is going on. The three “X-rays” that follow give snapshots of important projects and activities that Jesuits in Latin America have been able to undertake thanks to the solidarity and “complicity in action” of organizations such as Canadian Jesuits International (CJI). The presence and support of CJI in diverse situations—including the sociopolitical struggle for justice, the promotion of human rights, the integral formation of persons, community organizing and advocacy—have been fundamental for us.
1. Honduras. Berta Cáceres, assassinated. Political corruption—international collusion. Organized crime and the drug trade rife in the three powers of the state—executive, legislative, judiciary. Extreme social inequality. Oligarchy entrenched in public office. Extractionist economy—resources exploited, nature violated. Persecution and aggression against defenders of human rights, nature, women and minorities. Radio Progreso and the Reflection, Research and Communication Group. Ismael “Melo” Moreno SJ, technicians, journalists, broadcasters, researchers, administrative collaborators, volunteers. Clear and timely information. Music. Popular education. Service to the communities. Independent analysis. Whistle-blowing. Celebration. Team work. Threats. Collaboration and alliances with other social actors. Prophetic witness. Credibility—authority. Fragility.
2. Guatemala. August 2017. First gathering of Indigenous Youth of Central and Meso America. Young indigenous people of the Rarámuris, Tzeltales, Choles, Zoques, Misquitos, Mayas. Defence of and respect for the ancestral culture. Celebrations. Colours. Music. Dances. Stories. Wisdom. Dreams. The fight to protect Mother Earth and her gifts. Latin American Network for Solidarity and the Indigenous, an apostolate of CPAL. Next regional gatherings in: the Amazon, the Chaco, the Andes, the Austral zone. Exclusion. Disregard. Marginalization. Poverty. Indigenous youth gathered in one place sharing plans with other indigenous youth from distant locations. Happiness. Hope. Simplicity. Spirituality.
3. Comparte. Producers on small holdings. Commitment to quality. Economic and ecological sustainability. Food security. Cooperation. Improved means of production. Value added to products. Involvement in the entire chain of production and commercialization, so as to maximize benefits for the producer. Social reinvestment. More than 20 social centres and universities working together. Social economy on a large scale. Better living conditions. Back to the land. Farming youth rooted in the land. Political formation and participation. Alliances with other players. Insertion in public institutions. Advocacy.
With unending gratitude, we invite you to “come and see” (John 1:39). Let us continue to learn, serve, and celebrate together the gifts we’ve received from God for the good of all his daughters and sons. Blessings of the New Year!
This article first appeared in the 2018 Winter issue of CJI’s Mission News.