Bishops and pastoral agents of human mobility, care centres and shelters for migrants from the borders of Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela recently met in a virtual meeting to address the issue of the migratory reality in that region of the world.
It was an initiative "to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between Churches of departure and reception, in order to offer humanitarian and pastoral care to those who moved, supporting them in their religiosity and valuing their cultural expressions in everything that refers to the Gospel."
During the meeting, which took place on 25 May, representatives of Caritas and the Red CLAMOR Venezuela (the Latin American and Caribbean Ecclesial Network for Migration, Displacement, Shelter and Human Trafficking) spoke to inform about the pastoral reality in this country.
The regional coordinator of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Fr. Flavio Lauria, also participated in the meeting.
"Migrants from Venezuela are perceived to migrate in large numbers, with hope, but with their hearts anchored in their country. By their exposure, the main causes of departures are highlighted: the search for a better future; the critical situation in the country, with the shortage of food and medicine; the fear of violence, the deterioration of basic public services," the organizers said.
In addition, some of the regrettable consequences were highlighted, such as fragmented families, the "brain drain", numerous psychological impacts and trauma from forced migration; loss of dignity, human trafficking and the phenomenon of walkers.
The Church responds to this in different ways, through local Caritas and the CLAMOR network. For example, the presentation of the mapping of homes and care centres in Venezuela, and the regions of the country where the main services provided to migrants are pointed out, such as transit houses, etc.
Among the commitments, it was stressed that "we must always have a united discourse that recognizes and condemns political decisions that expose people to a vulnerable life and migration" as well as is urgent "to strengthen the networking between all pastoral agents to extend their own channels of communication with migrants.”
Finally, the importance of continuing to develop "information and awareness campaigns to fight all forms of human trafficking" was stressed.