It is in Pucallpa in Amazonia where our missionaries arrived in 1956; other confreres later settled in the diocese of Ica on the Pacific coast. And then, priests from Colombia and Mexico came to share our apostolate. The fruits of that labour are many: schools, clinics, credit unions, youth centers, a library and recently a seminary for candidates to the priesthood. The basic Christian communities which spread among the poor gave birth to a young and dynamic Church. Peruvian lay people and priests are now working with us as missionaries in Amazonia as well as in other countries.
Our arrival in Amazonia happened when the exploitation of the forest was picking up speed. Being the main source of jobs, the forest industry, because of its intensive exploitation, is now threatening the very existence of the selva, the Amazonian forest. The indigenous peoples are being marginalized and the respect of their rights is being flouted. In the 80s, the violence of the government and of opposing armed groups terrorized the population and has opened deep wounds. The growing of cocaine for the world market has also perturbed the social life of the communities. Gold mines and oil have attracted important investments in the region, giving rise to the exploitation of workers, the work of children, and to degrading working conditions and to pollution… Travel agencies also are now promoting an exotic tourism in that so-called virgin territory, creating a new stress on the ecosystem.
The cities of the selva have seen the greatest growth in all Peru, and this gave rise to many to working-class neighbourhoods. This has provoked a shortage of personnel: pastoral and communication agents, and catechists had to undergo further formation. Another challenge is to keep well alive the priority option for the impoverished, like the small farmers and the native people. The safeguard of the earth, the respect for the individual and collective rights, the recognition of the native cultures, and the defence of the working children, are all reasons for us of living coherently the Christian message and of proclaiming it.
In 2001, after the departure of ex-president Fujimori for Japan, the transition government created the consultation Table to fight poverty. In the region of Pucallpa, a confrere represents the Churches of the Amazonia at the regional Table. Missionaries also participate in the work of the Commission for truth and reconciliation aiming at shedding light and determine the responsibilities for the acts of terrorist violence and of violation of human rights committed between 1980 and 2000 by the terrorist organisations, either by the opposition groups or still from within the armed Forces and the police. The diocesan Commission on human rights is gathering information on the abuses committed in the vicariate of Pucallpa and conscientisation work is taking place in the Christian communities and in the population so that national reconciliation really becomeS part and parcel of the daily life of all citizens.
Batista, Marta (Pucallpa)
Côté, Gérard (Pucallpa)
Dubé, Floricien (Lima)
Miranda Pérez, Yorlene (Pucallpa)
Rousseau, Albert (Pucallpa)
Veillette, Lévis (Pucallpa)
Veilleux, Gérald (Pucallpa)