Church in Chile bracing for influx of Bolivian immigrants

Bishop Hector Vargas Bastidas of Arica, Chile, said this weekend that if the situation in Bolivia worsens, “the Catholic Church in Chile is ready to take in an eventual normal migration of Bolivian citizens.” 

“Let us trust in the wisdom of the Bolivian people and their authorities that greater harm will be avoided,” Bishop Vargas said, adding that “faced with a situation that could worsen, as a society we must show a maximum willingness to take in refugees.” 

“This is part of basic ethics,” he said, “although I hope the situation doesn’t become extreme.”

The bishop said he was very concerned with “what is happening in Bolivia, a country with so much riches and natural beauty, with so much to give, and such a noble people.”

Bishop Vargas said he was confident in the efforts of the Church in Bolivia to offer mediation in the crisis, and he called for prayers for the Church, that “it might have the minimum guarantees to carry out its work of peace and reconciliation.”  “I hope Bolivians can find quickly find solutions that will allow them to develop a plan that will lead towards full democracy, reconciliation in society and progress, because they are causing themselves very serious harm,” the bishop maintained.

“To go in the opposite direction is what the Bolivian people need least, especially the poor,” he said.  “We should pray for them.”

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