AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Clarification on the properties of the Apostolic Vicariate of Beni in TIPNIS

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Beni (Agenzia Fides) - The Minister of the Presidency, Juan Ramon Quintana, in a television program broadcast at the end of December 2012, stated that the Vicariate of Beni is the owner of a farm of 5,000 hectares situated in the area of TIPNIS (Indigenous Territory and Isiboro Secure National Park, see Fides 29/11/2012), and one does not know the destination of the contribution that the government assigns to the formation Center that was built.
His Exc. Mgr. Elias Julio María Montoya, Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Beni responds to these accusations, who in a note of clarification, sent to Fides Agency by the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, said: "Faced with this enormous falsehood on the property where the formation Center 'Kateri Tekakwitha' is, run by the Vicariate, I have to remind everyone that the title deeds attributed to the Apostolic Vicariate of Beni corresponds to an area of 843 hectares, qualified with the name of San Marcos, bought by the Vicariate in the year 2000." This note is accompanied by an official document of INRA, the National Institute of Agrarian Reform, and highlights some details of the document.
Mgr. Elias explains that on that ground the Vicariate Apostolic built in 2003, a middle school and a technical school in which, since then, 171 young people have graduated. In addition, the note recalls the personal commitment of Mgr. Elías with EPARU (Equipe de Pastoral Rural), who since 1973 has been working with the people of TIPNIS. "I am perplexed that the Minister of the Presidency asks 'where is the money?' When he personally visited the Institute in May 2012, seeing the infrastructure to manage and maintain" says the Apostolic Vicar. As stated on other occasions by Fides (see Fides 10/10/2012), the Catholic Church, despite the serious economic situation in the area, carries out a challenging missionary work with the entire population of the Vicariate of Beni. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 09/01/2013)