By Roeland Scholtalbers, CIDSE Media and Communication Officer (CIDSE is working with Caritas at the Rio Summit), from Rio de Janeiro. We have seen shy attempts by politicians to mend things, to address global challenges like poverty and climate change together. But our carbon-driven global economy has marched on in the meantime, increasing material well-being for some, but also fuelling economical, environmental and social inequalities. Climate change, which poses huge challenges to some of the world’s poorest communities experiencing increasingly extreme weather, is an obvious example. The exploitation of natural resources, which leaves the people of some of the world’s most resource-rich countries dirt poor, is another one.
With the planting of a tree, the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, with bishops and priests from the Latin American church, began Mass in the Cathedral of St. Sebastian in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The faithful prayed for a renewed commitment of world leaders to work for the elimination of poverty and the protection of nature at the UN Rio +20 conference beginning this week.
Archbishop Orani João Tempest of Rio de Janerio and Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference held the evnt in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English as a sigh of communion between the countries.
At the start of the Rio +20 Summit, Bishop Ulrich called on the conscience of world leaders and all people of good will to find an alternative development model based on ethics and responsibility for the environment and the human being, on justice, solidarity and the gospel values. […]
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Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa has condemned the murder of fellow countryman, the journalist Alfredo Villatoro.
The Honduran broadcast reporter was found executed Tuesday night in the village of Guasculile, north of Tegucigalpa. Villatoro had been abducted near his home by a gang of young men travelling in two vehicles on May 9.
He is the 22nd journalist to be killed in the country since 2010.
Cardinal Rodriguez said, “Alfredo Villatoro was a brave journalist. He was a great professional. He was also my friend. My prayers are with his family and colleagues.
“Alfredo shone a light on the violence and drug trafficking that is strangling Honduras. He is the latest journalist to be murdered for telling the truth about Honduras.
“These murders must end now. A free press is the cornerstone of any democracy. The intimidation and abuse of the media in Honduras must be stopped.”
“It happened on 20 December 2009, in the province of Chiapas. When I fell off the train, my right leg went under the wheels. But I’m lucky. I’m still alive.”
It’s not the first time that Edwin, a migrant from Honduras, has crossed Mexico. His first journey across the country dates back to 2000. He managed to cross the border four times, and each time he was deported by the United States immigration authorities. Today he’s back in the Caritas migrant reception centre in Saltillo. After five months of travelling from Honduras, he’s arrived at his destination.
“I don’t want to go the United States anymore. I’ve come here to try and find an artificial limb. With God’s help, I’m counting on Caritas and the extraordinary people who work in this house to help me to get it.” With his new artificial leg, Edwin will give himself up to the immigration […]
“I like guitars, they’ve been with me all my life. In Honduras, my father was a well-known musician. Trying to repair these old carcasses occupies my hands and my mind.”
Luis Enrique has been working for over an hour on patching up the two guitars that madre Guadalupe brought him at Belen, the migrants reception home in Saltillo, North Mexico.
Luis Enrique arrived the previous day. He thinks about Manuel, his travelling companion. “I had told him to wait, that there was movement on the bank.”
Three days before, the two friends were on the bank of Rio Bravo, the border between Mexico and the United States. Luis Enrique knows the passage they were meant to cross well. He used it twice in the past already. Twice also, he was deported by the American migration services. He paid dear for these experiences, but now knows what you need to do to cross the border without […]
For Stefani, the wait is terrible.
It’s 8 am in a Caritas Belen reception centre in Saltillo in the north of Mexico. The city is 300 km from the United States. She is waiting for her boyfriend Onan to turn up. They were suppose to meet here, before trying to cross the border together.
Stefani is 17, a teenager from Honduras. She is seven months pregnant. “I could not travel by the train anymore,” she says. “I could not run. I could not jump on and off the trains. It was too dangerous”.
She reached Saltillo by bus along with her boyfriend’s 15 year old brother. They did not have enough money for a third ticket for Onan. He had to ride the freight train. She last saw him a week ago. “He should already have arrived”, she says.
Every year, thousands of undocumented migrants brave criminal gangs, immigration officials and the elements to hitch […]
Read in French or Spanish By Ryan Worms The journey escaping from poverty in Central America in search of prosperity in the United States and Canada is a dangerous one for the migrants who try their luck. More than 20,000 migrants are held by criminal gangs each year on the route. Theft, violence and sexual assault are all common events. These mostly young people have already come along way by the time they reach San Luis de Potosi in Mexico. They arrive by freight train. Beside the track is the House of Charity, where local Caritas Potosi staff offer them safe haven. The hostel relocated last year out of the town centre so the migrants didn’t have to face the gangs operating there.
Which country has the highest murder rate in the world? Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan?
With 82.1 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras has now has more than eight times the average number of killings in the world.
Homicides have doubled in the last five years nationally and the regions of Cortés, Atlántida and Colón see more than 100 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants.
“Poverty can force people into extremely bad situations,” said Fr German Cálix, Secretary General of Caritas Honduras.
Poverty is responsible for lower quality of life for Hondurans. It impacts on the increasing number of robberies and crimes on commission. Murders and violence over land disputes are common.
The maras or drug gangs are responsible for many of the killings. Although Honduras is not a main drug producer in the region, it has become the most important stopover for drug trafficking by plane from South America to North America. Slayings are a result […]
“These housing estates are the future for me and my family.” Bénisette, called Bébé by people in the neighbourhood, poses proudly in front of the materials that will be used to build her new house in the Villa Rosa neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince. Behind her, we can see the tent that has provided shelter for the five members of her family since the earthquake on 12 January 2010. The prospect of moving into her new house soon brings a broad smile to Bénisette’s face.
She tells us: “If everything goes well our new house will be completed within two months. It’ll have two stories. With the first instalment of the money we received from Cordaid we bought the building materials. In addition to paying the workers, my family and I take part in the construction by fetching water for the cement and preparing meals for the people working on the site. […]
In Haiti, two years after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, Caritas Confederation members are keeping up their efforts to help the people affected by the disaster. The earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, caused 230,000 deaths and affected more than three million people by destroying up to 90% of infrastructures in the hardest hit areas. The generosity of people from around the world has enabled Caritas to set up dozens of projects that have played a part in rebuilding the country and improving the living conditions of Haiti’s most disadvantaged people.
After giving immediate assistance to the people affected by the earthquake (distribution of food, hygiene kits and essential items, as well as provision of temporary shelter), Caritas members have turned their attention to more long-term aid projects.
Caritas members have intervened in various areas of activity. Of course, thousands of homes have been rebuilt, which as Caritas Haiti […]
Cap Rouge, a small town in a remote rural area, is perched on a humid plateau around 10 kilometres from Jacmel, which is considered to be the major town in south-eastern Haiti.
After the earthquake in January 2010, VEDEK, a farmers’ organisation that is very active in the area, counted more than 500 damaged houses there, of which half had been completely destroyed. Therefore, VEDEK and PAPDA (Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development) set up an extensive project to rebuild 100 houses and 20 cisterns in order to restore water access to affected households. The project was based on the expertise of CRAterre, an organisation specialising in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of traditional houses. Secours Catholique and CRaterre are joint signatories of a manifesto advocating the promotion of local building practices as a response to reconstruction programmes.
A process of repairing and improving housing that incorporates local know-how and new construction […]
Fednor, a farmer, is preparing what will soon be the main source of food for his family – a rice field. In Joque, in the province of Les Cayes, rice growing is the most common agricultural activity. The rice fields extend along each side of the road and provide a living for the majority of households in the area.
There’s no machinery here; everything is done by hand. Fednor is up to his knees in mud. Equipped with an old spade, he’s digging the rice field and hopes to see a crop growing soon that will enable him to feed his family and earn a little money.
He’s surrounded by other busy members of the community. Men and women are all working together on building a project that will change their lives. A break is arranged to meet the community and get an idea of what they’re doing.
“Without water there’s no […]