Asunción (Agenzia Fides) – After yesterday’s general strike, March 26th, which took place in a peaceful manner without any form of violence, the President of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, gave orders to listen to the unions. Thousands of farmers and workers marched in the major cities across the country, protesting the increase of public transport tickets, food products and all government services. The unions managed to unite after 20 years, to ask the government a 25 per cent increase of the minimum wage for all workers in the country.
The Catholic Church in Paraguay has always defended the right of workers to publicly express their requests, as explained in the statement of the Bishops' Conference which was sent to Fides Agency: "We must recognize that citizens desire a better life in society where they live profound injustice and demand solidarity and social justice".
"The right to strike is guaranteed by law" stress the Bishops, who then cite Pope Francis’ "Evangelii Gaudium" (183): "the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics, the Church cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. All Christians, their pastors included, are called to show concern for the building of a better world".
Mgr. Mario Melanio Medina Salinas, Bishop of San Juan Bautista de las Misiones, in a note sent to Fides argues that it is necessary to demonstrate, because the people live in poverty: "though Paraguay is admired for its macroeconomics, extreme poverty is increasing". (CE) (Agenzia Fides 27/03/2014)