Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "The Venezuelan Amazon: the cry of the earth and the cry of the peoples call for answers" is the title of the document published by REPAM (the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network), on behalf of the Venezuelan Bishops Conference (CEV) in the face of the environmental destruction of the Venezuelan Amazon.
"We know that it is a situation that affects the entire Amazon - says the document sent to Agenzia Fides - and for this reason, as an organization that includes all the countries of the Amazon, we want to present to society and to all those we consider to be Church, concerns and calls for shared responsibility, which such situations require".
This call to civil society and institutions aims to give voice to the indigenous peoples, who are affected by the increase in mining, by the non-observance of the minimum conditions of mining and by the looting of natural resources in the Amazon, a territory that covers nine Latin American countries (see Fides 20/1/2018 and 23/02/2018).
Mgr. José Ángel Divasson, President of REPAM Venezuela, explained that this socio-environmental issue is just one of the many problems faced by indigenous communities, and expressed his pain in witnessing the suffering of "people dying of poisoning from mercury-contaminated water". He also highlighted how mine exploitation cannot be the solution to the economic problems of Venezuela. Even geographer Hector Escandel, REPAM coordinator in the community of Puerto Ayacucho, defined mining as being "part of a predatory development model" which does not generate welfare but poverty and exclusion.
The appeal - supported by the National Council of Laity of Venezuela (CONALAI), the Venezuelan Association of Catholic Education (AVEC) and Caritas Venezuela - reminds us of this situation "the Church has taken precise positions for years, aimed at the awareness of the gravity of the problems and their considerable consequences, proposing solutions based on respect and equality".
Quoting "Laudato Sì", Pope Francis’ Encyclical, defined as an "illuminating and stimulating tool, which has become a point of reference for all" and the recent pastoral Exhortation of CELAM entitled "Missionary Disciples, custodians of the common home" (see Fides 07/03/2018), the appeal recalls that we are all called to "be custodians of this common home, to take care of it, to defend it for future generations", renewing our commitment "to the peoples who live in these lands to bring them the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Savior sent by our Father God, so that his kingdom of justice, love and peace becomes reality in our world". (LG) (Agenzia Fides, 10/04/2018)