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Caritas at theWSF in Belém. Credits: Caritas

Caritas at the WSF in Belém. Credits: Caritas

One hundred and fifty Caritas representatives from 14 countries attended theWorld Social Forum (WSF) in Belém, Brazil. TheWSF is seen as a vital opportunity for social movements, NGOs and civil society networks to discuss the issues of poverty and the effects of globalisation.

“For Caritas, theWorld Social Forum is an opportunity for the globalisation of solidarity, something which is crucial in the construction of another world,” says Cristina dos Anjos, National Director of Caritas Brazil.

Latin America has some of the greatest disparities between rich and poor. A quarter of the 500 million population live on less than a dollar a day, while the world’s richest man, a Mexican, is worth USD 53 billion (€42 billion) .

Caritas Latin America and the Caribbean hosted a workshop on a solidarity-based model of sustainable development. “We believe that the power of theWord and the Spirit can convince the whole of society that promoting development that is beneficial to everyone and doesn’t harm the environment is possible,” said Fr Antonio Sandoval, Regional Coordinator for Caritas Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of the highlights of the 2009WSF was a 60,000-strong march through the old town of Belém in solidarity with the indigenous people of the Amazon. As they sang, danced and celebrated, the Caritas delegation carried a banner with the words “Globalising Solidarity”, reaffirming the struggle for a world order based on putting people before profit.