Solidary effort of the Franciscans in Chile for struggling people
In recent days, the people of Chile have experienced a transformation that could describe in an emotional way, ranging from resignation and social passivity to rebellion and action against a social model that has caused great inequality in the distribution of goods and resources of the land of Chile, inequality of access to justice, education, health, pensions and so many other demands. People are confronting the situations that caused greater poverty and a quality of life of enslavement and are subjected to the market that increasingly enriches only the few who benefit from a socio-economic structure that abuses the majority of the population.
“Chile’s waken up” is an anthem we have sung in the demonstrations. We sing it to tell the government, the politicians, the businessmen and all those who have allowed social inequalities that enough is enough. The social awakening is happening in various forms of demonstration, both peaceful and violent, and protests on the street and in the different churches and spiritual traditions on the days of reflection and prayer (although they are not visible by the mass media). “Chile’s waken up” is an expression of each and every citizen in the country, calling for a structural, profound transformation that would allow us to overcome injustices. But it is also no less true that if we want to ask for changes in the economic model, we must also do so in our lifestyle which is shaped by that same model, lacking fundamental human values such as equality, justice and equity. We should bring changes in a competitive, selfish, individualistic and consumerist lifestyle, changes to a collaborative lifestyle of solidarity. This movement means waking up to get out of oneself by opening to a more fraternal (serving each other) social coexistence.
“We are not at war” was the reaction and the counter-moto to the hate speech and the propaganda (“We are at war.”) of the authority that wanted to justify the announcement of the state of emergency. The government has sent the armed forces to the streets with curfew in the repression of demonstrations which started out of the helplessness of the poorest. “We are not at war” because we only seek for peace through a just society, because we want to end the violence and suffer daily from living with the anguish of not knowing how to survive every month. “We are not at war” because there is no internal enemy in the country, but rather brothers and sisters who seek to improve their living conditions. “We are not at war” because we do not want looting in the neighborhoods nor in the laws that allow only the powerful to benefit.
The Church of Chile is called to fully live our mission, prophetically proclaiming the Kingdom of God and His Justice, which call us for the “integral ecological conversion” of our social structure. We Friars Minor of Chile are called to bear witness to fraternity, serve the people of God, promote justice, peace and integrity of creation, and build socially active communities for dialogues and pastoral engagement in the service of the Lord and humanity. Sowers of hope can recover faith in the conversion of the other, overcome the distrust that closes us to the encounter, dialogue and acceptance of the different, and make it possible to build the universal unity while respecting diversity.
May the Lord give us His Peace!
Br. Máximo Cavieres I., OFM
Province of Holy Trinity – Chile