Evo Morales, criticized for wanting to 'politicize' the Pope's visit

Evo Morales, criticized for wanting to 'politicize' the Pope's visit

Evo Morales, criticized for wanting to 'politicize' the Pope's visit
By: EFE and AFP | 8:48 pm | July 9, 2015 Evo Morales's gift for Pope Francisco.
Photo: REUTERS
The opposition and the Church of Bolivia accuse the president to take advantage of the trip the pontiff. President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, are still pouring in criticism from the opposition and the Bolivian Catholic Church for trying to "politicize" the visit of Pope Francisco home. The last of the acts that angered opponents was the gift he made to the pontiff: a crucifix in a hammer and sickle symbol that has been labeled by local media as a "communist cross."

The gift, which is a replica of a figure carved by the Spanish Jesuit Luis Espinal Camps, tortured and killed in La Paz in 1980 for denouncing political violence in the country (see box) - was described in some quarters as "shameful".

Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga (2001-2002) said "you can not mix faith with the ideology and suggested that instead of using" imported and rickety symbols in time "as the hammer and sickle, the Pope will alluding could give gifts to the Jesuit missions in Bolivia. (Read: Francis asks Pope 'sorry' for sins of Church Conquest)

"Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what is God's. You can not put Christ on the hammer and sickle. #Bolivia Surprised to #PapaFrancisco "said former Senator Centa Reck opposition. And while the Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said yesterday that the Pope "had no particular negative reaction" to the crucifix, tempers are heating up in Bolivia.

The reason is that Morales has also made advertisements that stressed "big matches" in social and economic differences between him and the pontiff policies: "To me have surprised me some words of Pope Francisco when we agree on the issue of capitalism and Mother Earth, "said Bolivian President before the Pope's arrival. In addition, Evo used the image of Catholic leaders to promote the gathering of social and cultural movements that ended yesterday in Santa Cruz and to show public works giant billboards.

Even on Wednesday, as he gave his speech of welcome to Pope Francisco International Airport of El Alto, Morales referred to the maritime claim that the Andean country brought against Chile at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague and said, Pope Francis: "Welcome to a part of the Patria Grande, which has been maimed him his right of access to the sea by an invasion". In fact, of the anger of the opposition is that Morales's attitude goes against the new Constitution promulgated by himself, in which Catholicism ceased to be the official cult and declared that the state is "independent of the religion ", but guarantees freedom of all faiths.

Nonconformity
The -institution church with which the president has maintained permanent friction since coming to power in 2006 has also expressed its nonconformity. Despite the differences, the government and the Catholic leadership were able to work around the "common goal" of organizing the Pope's visit to the country, although "in some ways there was no agreement," he recently said in an interview with the daily El Deber José Fuentes, executive secretary of the commission of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference (CEB), in charge of the case.

"We see attempts to appropriate the figure of the Pope, attempts to politicize the figure of the Pope. We have to be clear, there is a campaign we see the government that at no time was agreed with the Church rather than the pope Francisco is well-liked by the government, but not to be manipulated, "Fuentes said, adding that seems pointed" " .

Morales, which claims to be "Catholic base" - has accused the local Catholic hierarchy right, allied oligarchies, medieval, to act as the Inquisition and even be linked to thefts in temples.

The confrontation has been motivated by the critical eye with which the bishops have discussed issues such as the growth of drug trafficking, authoritarianism and judicial persecution of opponents. Despite these tensions, the pope's visit to Bolivia has allowed the government dialogue for the first time in a long time with the Catholic leadership.

The crucifix Evo gave the pontiff
The Spanish Jesuit Xabier Albó which met sacerdorte Luis Espinal Camps and inherited the original piece that combines the crucifix symbol of communism reiterated that the cross with Christ, the vertical and horizontal hammer sickle means the need for dialogue of " Christians with everyone, including the Marxists. " Albo said that the crucifix can not conclude "that Espinal was a communist (...) because it is not true."

For its part, the Bolivian government defended the gift. The Bolivian Minister of Communication, Marianela Paco, stressed that identifies farmers sickle and hammer the workers, "humble people, workers, people of God"
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