Communicating hope, from the periphery, via radio and the new REPAM school for human rights

March 18, 2016

Quito, 11 March 2016 (REPAM) .- The joint and coordinated work in the Pan Amazonian region by the institutions of the Catholic Church and in close relationship with the communities and peoples inhabiting this region is one of the fundamental objectives Pan-Amazonian Network of the Church, said Mauricio Lopez (of GCCM Steering Committee, REPAM, Caritas-Ecuador, and CLC-CVX).  Lopez was participating in a discussion with the representatives of educational and popular radio of the Latin American Association for Radio Education, ALER, meeting in Quito, during their XV Assembly.

“We build a joint body communicating hope — communicating other stories from the periphery, another narrative that is hopeful of a better future. The encyclical of Pope Francis tells us loudly and without fatalism: “Humanity still has the capacity to generate the changes needed. ” But we have to start changing, and in a coordinated, unified, and articulated way. Because if we continue to work in a fragmented way, we will only be playing into the hegemonic system that dominates us.

To help build the paradigm of Integral Ecology proposed by the Pope Francis/Papa Francisco, as communicators we must ask: What kind of communication we can drive together?  Encyclical “Laudato Si” raises four attitudes that we can promote from communication: First “Metanoia,” a profound transformation of our inner and heart. If there is a profound change in the attitudes of people, everyday we can move forward, little by little.  Another approach is to promote recognition of the importance of the encounter with the other; alone and isolated we can not do anything. Go to the encounter with other human beings and with Mother Earth. The third value is the genuine insight; i.e., to analyze reality, look genuinely and from there build proposals for outputs. Finally the fourth value is the “Parrhesia,” the brave output to meet that reality.

Therefore with ALER, with their radios and other communication entities, we have to move forward together, “knowing that we are brothers in the Mission.” We summon the cries of the sister and mother earth, the encyclical “Laudato Si” and the rich history of our peoples and cultures, because as the sacred book of the Mayas reminds us: “It seems that over time signs live death and senseless. It seems that the fruits were uprooted, branches were cut, they burned trunks. But certainly, they could not kill the roots. ”

The Pan-Amazonian Network also leads us to break old paradigms, such as working each according to their own interests, their own charisms, or confined to their small individual territories. The Amazon territoriality raises broader and more realistic challenges to find global answers to the problems of Mother Earth.

Territoriality, as theological category, sociological, anthropological, political and ecological also invites us to a communication that meshes from territoriality. The Amazon is one of the threatened territories, but not the only one; there are other areas that also require a coordinated and joint work. Congo River Basin in Africa, for example, or in our region: the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the Caribbean, the Andes, the Chaco region, etc.

So working together in the field of communication for processing, with ALER, with SIGNIS, with broadcasters and other local and regional communication networks is not only urgent but it is essential to strengthen a movement of communication and communicators which are assumed as agents of social transformation.

At the end of his speech, Mauricio Lopez gave ALER stations the radio series “Laudato Si”, a production of REPAM consisting of 20 programs in which the teachings of the Encyclical of Pope Francis addressed.

Representatives of REPAM met a year ago in the city of Manaus, Brazil, with inspiration from the Black Rivers and Solimoes.  At that meeting of the waters, which means life, woven from diversity and complementing the flow of the great Amazon started the Enlarged Executive Committee of REPAM.  About 25 people, representatives of the Latin American Church gathered to focus and reflect on the network.  DSC_1022They have been working on action lines and main themes, including indigenous peoples, human rights and advocacy,

Territorial Network actors reaffirmed their commitment to a work proposal, roaming, accompanying, encouraging and building together, from the places where life and struggles of the Amazon meet.  Progress during the first year was very fruitful; networks were formed in most of the Amazon countries and consolidated spaces within local churches as well as international networks.  The event combined internal activities with external work and interaction with civil society in Manaus, with Cardinal Dom. Claudio Hummes, president of the Commission for the Amazon of the CNBB, Mgr. Barreto, representative of CELAM for REPAM and Fr. Dario Bossi, representing the Churches network and mining industries, network working articulating the fight against the consequences of the mining in Latin America.  The implications and challenges of being in a Pan-Amazonian Network — embodied in the culture, practices and roots of the Amazon — involves broad, diverse and rich dynamics, as well as many challenges.  It requires creativity, vocation and commitment to “stand together” in solidarity, as Pope Francis has said.

 12 representatives of indigenous peoples from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia will meet for five weeks to start the process of Human Rights which will be accompanied by REPAM. This process includes 3 phases: training, information gathering and proposed formal impact on international bodies. The 12 cases presented will be accompanied by a concrete way by the Church, since participation involves pairs of leaders and pastoral agents to promote an accompaniment and closeness by the local Church, which in most cases is already a fact.

The topics covered in these five weeks are:

  • Module 1: Identity and Vision Pan Amazon
  • Module 2: Collective rights
  • Module 3: System HR (universal and regional)
  • Module 4: Documentation
  • Module 5: Incidence

Romina Gallegos, a member of the team coordinator of the School, says: