- Jan 25, 2020
Christmas is a season of celebration. Yet in Latin America, many Christmas messages from the bishops have turned into a cry for freedom and political stability, and a call to help the poor.
While reports indicate that the migration of Venezuelan refugees into Brazil and Colombia has eased since the first half of 2019, aid workers in border communities said the influx of people has not slowed appreciably.
AVSI Brasil, along with a number of other entities linked to the Catholic Church — such as the Scalabrinian institute for migrant human rights, Jesuit Refugee Service, the Catholic ministry to migrants of the Diocese of Roraima, and Caritas Brazil — work to help the Venezuelans inside and outside refugee camps in Brazil.
On his return from a trip to Asia last month, Pope Francis was asked about protests in Hong Kong. He answered by saying there are many places today facing social revolt, citing Chile, France, Spain, Nicaragua and “other Latin American countries.”
“It’s something general,” he said. “How does the Holy See handle it? It calls for dialogue, for peace.”
As political tensions mount in several countries throughout Latin America and local crises risk spinning out of control, the bishops in the region are trying desperately to get ahead of the game and calm all parties before things boil over.
The situation of Venezuelan refugees in the Netherlands Antilles is dramatic: According to a recent report from Refugees International, it is one of the worst in the region.