Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Just peace in Bolivia requires constructive dialogue and reconciliation

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns released the following statement on the political crisis in Bolivia on November 27, 2019.

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The current crisis in Bolivia has exposed deep, unhealed wounds born of centuries of colonial violence, exclusion, and racism. For over 75 years, Maryknoll missioners have lived and worked in Bolivia to heal these wounds with love and transform them into sources of liberating social justice. We are deeply saddened by the violence and destruction the country has suffered in recent weeks at the hands of both supporters and opponents of former president Evo Morales. We stand in solidarity with the majority of Bolivians who have remained nonviolent throughout the conflict, and we share their grave concerns over violence and divisions that have torn at the fabric of Bolivian society in recent weeks. 

Amid an undeniably complex and fraught situation, we implore the international solidarity community to seek out partners among both those in support of the interim government and Morales supporters, and encourage efforts at peacebuilding and dialogue. Reconciliation is urgently needed so that all those in the struggle for indigenous rights and social justice can work together. We ask organizations to refrain from making statements that oversimplify the conflict. Such statements risk having the unintended effect of erasing and excluding key voices and deepening divisions.

We add our voice to the call for Bolivia to hold new, fair elections and restore democracy. We support the various instances of national and local dialogue already underway between political parties and social movements, facilitated by the Bolivian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the European Union, the United Nations, and others. Where conflicting reports have been promoted by opposing sides regarding recent incidents of violence, we join the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in calling for a credible, international human rights investigation to clarify the facts and discouraging further violence. We encourage the United Nations and other international organizations to offer further assistance in monitoring both the lead-up to elections and the human rights situation on the ground. The Maryknoll Mission Center in Latin America, located in Cochabamba, has offered its facilities as a space for peacebuilding and further dialogue. Such spaces are invaluable as Bolivians seek a path forward. We are grateful for the divided neighbors in a La Paz barrio who negotiated their own peace accord and agreed to work together for a better Bolivia. We applaud such efforts, and urge further action for peace, reconciliation, and the rebuilding of democracy with justice for all Bolivians. 

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