[Province La Milagrosa Bogotá Venezuela] “To take down from the cross those who are crucified,” is the mission of the Daughters of Charity. For that reason, we responded to the call of the Company in the face of the cries and clamours of our brothers and sisters. Here is what we have seen and heard in the frontier with Brazil, Pacaraima and in Boa Vista:
We have seen the reality of the Venezuelans in Brazil:
In a Gym in Boa Vista, Roraima, there are 179 Native people, 49 of them children and 70 Creoles. There are relationship problems for there are differences in the norms of coexistence. The natives feel discriminated against because the Creoles (not indigenous) presented themselves as superior to them. The Fraternity International and Humanitarian Federation and the Religious Congregation of Grace and Mercy accompany the people in the organization for the preparation of food and cleaning.
In the meeting with each group they expressed:
- The indigenous want land to sow and to form their indigenous community in Brazil.
- The Creoles want an opportunity to get their documentation to be able to work.
- They all desire accompaniment so that they are not left alone in their situation.
The appointments to legalize documents are given after many months. Meanwhile they cannot work and they are exploited by labor that pays only 1/10 a day‘s wage – or they are not paid at all.
There are elderly men in pain because they sleep in the floor, without mattresses, children underweight, with parasites and malnutrition.
Every day more people arrive and the government threatens to throw them out of the gym with no place else to go.
The situation is different in Pacaraima, the border between Brazil and Venezuela, also called “The Line”. Around 100 families live there, all natives of the Delta, Tucupita and Maturín of Venezuela. They are helped by the parish priest, Father Jesus, who generously welcomes them and is devoted to their needs as much as He can, given that there are so many.
They live in an open ground, in the streets and sidewalks like we see in the picture. They can spend up to three days without eating. The Pastor and people of the sector help them. Children are undernourished and illnesses proliferate, as malaria, respiratory problems and skin diseases.
The difficulty to get work has increased. Their helplessness and lack of protection make them more vulnerable. They are deprived of everything.
The experience shared with our Sisters of Boa Vista was very rich. We could see the urgent need for the presence of the Daughters of Charity in Pacaraima in a refuge that could welcome and assist the most urgent health, nutrition and protection needs.
In Boa Vista we think the service needed consists in helping the native people to get land and to accompany them to speed up the administration of documents. We would facilitate a worthwhile work, with a close and human accompaniment, that will contribute to hope.
We also find very important to write to our Sister representatives in the UN, to denounce the situation they live in and to be able to urge the Brazilian government to act in their favour.
We are grateful to God for the opportunity to find Him in the poor, grateful to the Company to impel us to charity and grateful to our dear Sisters of Boa Vista.
We put in Our Lady’s’ hands the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters and the decision of our Superiors.
Sister Angela M. Gómez T. , Sister Ramona Alonso
Daughters of Charity