Indigenous in Argentina appeal to Pope Francis amid mining protests – by Eduardo Campos Lima (Crux Now – July 5, 2023)

SÃO PAULO – Two weeks after the northwestern Jujuy province in Argentina approved a broad constitutional reform, indigenous communities and labor unions, supported by an official arm of the Argentine bishops’ conference, are demonstrating against it and demanding its revocation.

Groups of protesters have been blockading roads and marching against the legal changes, which they say put in danger their right to occupy traditional lands, their access to water, and their right to manifest against the government.

On June 30, some of the demonstrators launched a hunger strike. Clemente Flores, an indigenous leader, also said that they will keep protesting till the reform is revoked. He thinks that more and more people will show support to their cause, including in the Church.

“Last week we sent a letter to Pope Francis about our situation. We are waiting for him to answer and give us his support,” he said. The Argentine bishops’ pastoral team for aboriginal peoples (known by the Spanish acronym “Endepa”), the most vocal Church organization against the reform, has issued two statements criticizing Jujuy’s government since the reform process began, and demanded the immediate annulment of the new constitution.

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