AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Attacks on Salesian Technical Farming Schooi in Barinas

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 missionary institutes   violence   poverty  

Salesian Farming School

Barinas (Agenzia Fides) – The Salesian community which runs a school in Barinas laments that about 15 hectares belonging to the institute are illegally occupied and recently a school truck was set on fire a few metres away from gas tanks, putting at risk the lives of the pupils and the Salesian fathers and brothers living at this farming centre.
A week ago 188 students and 10 staff members were woken by an explosion, the truck was set on fire by a group of persons who then fled the area. "When we tried to put out the fire we saw that the electricity plant and the water pumps were out of use " said Fr Rafael Montenegro, director of the centre, in the report sent to Fides. "Even more serious – said Fr Montenegro – in the daylight we saw the perpetrators had made a trace of gas oil leading towards the gas cylinders, about 10 metres long, covered with rags soaked in gas oil; it was a miracle that the fire did not get that far".
San José Salesian Technical Farming School is situated in Barinas, about 500 km from Caracas. It has served in the area for 32 years earning the esteem of the people for the education provided to students coming from remote rural areas with little or no economic resources .
The Centre’s property has been occupied by persons aiming to steal the land. In various incidents in recent months the occupiers broke a weak fence around the centre and set fire to part of the maize fields, highly appreciated in the area, putting at risk the annual harvest.
The incidents were reported to the local authorities and 10 days ago 13 people.were arrested by the police.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 02/03/2016)