Puno (Agenzia Fides) - "The presence and the voice of the Pope are a consolation for all of us, and we fully agree when he says that the cry of the poor is the cry of Pachamama, Mother Earth. We Andeans think that the earth is a living being, that takes care of us and welcomes us until death. Since indigenous peoples are not listened to, NGOs and all those institutions that, despite many limitations, try to give voice to these peoples, we hope that at least the Holy Father’s voice will be heard", commented to Agenzia Fides Sister Patricia Ryan, of the association Human Rights and Environment (DHUMA), a non-governmental organism. This group - they themselves explain - finds inspiration in the word of God and is committed to the defense of human life and dignity, including the defense and rights of indigenous peoples and mother earth.
"Informal mining activity, but also legal or formal, does not only cause environmental contamination, but contaminates the whole human being, contaminates people's intelligence, and is a real maltreatment", as happens in some of these areas where people's human rights are constantly violated. "Being a 12-year-old girl and being beautiful in these contexts - Sr. Patricia explains with pain - often means being kidnapped and to live as a slave. We are trying to bring our help, with the means we have, and the voice of the Holy Father is certainly an enormous help for this cry of our land, our peoples, because it will have repercussions in the political sphere". According to the religious, it is a priority to make the harsh reality that the Quechua and Aymara peoples of these regions are forced to live in known at an international level.
"All of us belonging to the networks that are dedicated to these issues related to mining and rural communities have appealed to the Pope as the highest authority of the Church, we have brought our voice, our experience in the struggle for rights in this part of America, to update him of what happens in these places, for which we have great expectations compared to what will happen after the visit, and changes that can occur even at a political level", adds Sister Patricia, showing hope for the Pope's visit and his interest in these lands. "Even if he did not come to Puno - says Sister Patricia explaining that many of the inhabitants of the area, who are peasants and miners of very small and distant villages – the Pope has touched and is in our hearts because we are very thankful for his words and for Laudato Sì and all that he is doing in favor of the indigenous peoples and the mother earth". (LG) (Agenzia Fides 20/1/2018)