Bishops of Nariño ask for clear and real policies to transform illegal economies

Bishops of Nariño ask for clear and real policies to transform illegal economies
Bishops of Nariño ask for clear and real policies to transform illegal economies

The bishops of the dioceses of Ipiales, Tumaco and Pasto called on the President’s Government Gustavo Petro to define a public policy of economic and social care for coca leaf growers, this is due to the increase in illicit crops and the failure of programs to replace illegal economies in the southwest of the country for decades.

The statements of the prelates of the Catholic Church were made within the framework of the third forum “Crops for Illicit Use and Illegal Economies – Realities and Proposals of the Territories”which took place in Pasto.

They say they are willing to accompany the national government to look for effective alternatives that allow the thousands of farmers, who are forced by circumstances to grow the coca leaf, to change their activity.

Monsignor Juan Carlos Cárdenas Toro, bishop of Pasto, said that “the Church has historically been in the territories and assured that pastoral work must be strengthened, walk more with the people, that there is more empathy and being with people. We have to read there a call from the community, overcoming social barriers, including security barriers, to make them feel that we are not indifferent to their struggles and feelings.”

Meanwhile, Monsignor Saúl Grisales, bishop of Ipiales, assured that the community’s saying is that “that is the problem of the coast, that is the problem of the mountain range.”

It’s not a department problem; We are all citizens who have a circumstance to face. So in the streets of Pasto it does not occur, but in the streets of Pasto the violence that comes from there is consumed or we experience situations of loss and profound damage to our new generations.

“So, this is a problem of society that therefore has to reflect on it, and that is what we have tried to do with some experts. We have been working, who have wanted to contribute their reflections to us, as the governor has done, to try to ensure that we all first understand the complexity of this drug trafficking problem,” said Monsignor Grisales.

“Our mission is to accompany our communities in their fight for a dignified life. We must work together, from all spheres, to eradicate the causes that lead our brothers to resort to illegal economies”.

Monsignor Orlando Olave, bishop of the diocese of Tumaco, went further and assured that the programs that the national government is offering must really get to the bottom of the problems and prevent crops from continuing to increase in this region of the Pacific of Nariño.

Olave expressed his concern because dozens of families are abandoning their plots due to the economic situation that has taken their families to extremes in the municipalities of the coastal foothills and the Pacific.

The representative of the Catholic Church in Tumaco asked the government to look for solutions that can transform illegal economies with positive responses and said that it cannot be denied that for years the communities have subsisted on crops, but that does not mean that something that does so much damage to society can be justified.

Finally, the prelates asked the government to “set its sights on the southwest region so that, with institutional support, farmers can overcome the historical marginalization and abandonment to which they have been subjected for decades.”

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