Migration: Crisis or Opportunity in the Latin American Exodus Reality?


Theological Conference of the Superior
Institute of Missionary Studies “Paul VI”,
Missionary Fraternity of Mary.
Review by Pbro. Lic. Ubaldo Menchú

The migratory phenomenon is very old, it accompanies the history of families, and, therefore, of humanity. The contexts of war, social conflicts, poverty, climatic changes, have resulted in constant exoduses which have resulted in a new interpretation of the migratory phenomenon.

In the Latin American context, both violence and corruption have been factors of impoverishment and forced migration, threatening the life, dignity and integral development of the person.

The theme demands an update and invites us to face the new challenges that Latin American people and families face. It is important to re-read the crises and opportunities both in the context of the country of origin, challenges during their exodus journey and the new reality to be faced in the destination country in order to have a broad vision of this human reality. The issue in question was addressed, from the analysis of reality. However, it is not possible to have a broad vision without biblical enlightenment, to then enable practical principles that help to avoid forced migration and giving rise to the, culture of the encounter.
Ricardo Terga, Doctor of History, and Jaime Sevilla, Doctor of Theology and Master in Pastoral Minsitry, participated in the analysis of reality. They gave us important information; such as, we cannot know the xenophobic attitude or the attitude of openness without knowing the history of the country.

Specifically, the United States, the strong Anglican brand of feeling a chosen people and having a different relationship with people, depending on the country of origin. In the pastoral reality, the “Zero Tolerance” system is touched at the surface, inviting a social commitment with the undocumented. Family challenges increase, they tend to forget their identity due to the inability to responsibly integrate their culture of origin and the new culture. The first part is to highlight the historical consciousness and human sensitivity.

In the second analysis we had the biblical perspective, with the participation of Lic. Francisco Romero and Dr. Carlos Lara. The experience of the Hebrew people can be highlighted from the icons of Abraham and Moses, leaders of a pilgrim people in conquest of their identity and their freedom.
In this context, Egypt becomes a symbol of ambiguity, it is life expectancy in a moment, but then it becomes an oppressor town, in it the dichotomy of opportunity and crisis occurs. In the New Testament Jesus is presented as a foreigner or a stranger (Xenos), but a foreigner who brings us salvation, the understanding of true freedom and the way to understand our universal brotherhood. The invitation on this second point will be to move from xenophobia to xenophilia.

Finally, in the part of the theological reflection and the pastoral praxis, we had the presentations of Lic. JOSÉ LUIS GONZÁLEZ MIRANDA, with great experience in the Jesuit Service for Migrants, and of the PBRO. LIC. JUAN LUIS CARVAJAL, Director of the Human Mobility of the CEG. It began by explaining the theological places, emphasizing the human experience and the evangelical light (GS 46), so migration allows us new paradigms of relationship, of that quest for justice on a global level, which traces a clear horizon of human fraternity.

The pastoral efforts are not more than attending dignity of the person and their rights; this implies a strong incidence in the political and economic field. At the end of this last part, he was invited to overcome the ambiguity of being a country full of hope, but at the same time the threat to life. Overcoming ambiguity means being a country of hope where mutual integral development and xenophilia can contribute a lot in this field.

In conclusion, we can affirm that the human being, in this dynamism of exit-return of migration, must seek good coexistence and the search for justice. The person as a “human being” is called to the recognition of their rights and obligations, but not only that, but they are also called to live their “being brother” in loving reciprocity, in recognizing and not denying the basic / primary needs worthy of a person (food, shelter, security) and how to recognize and defend their dignity (recognition, education, participation, work and living wages).

To be human and to be a brother means to be attentive to promote a dignified life, to be a creative subject of history and not a passive observer, to assume co-responsibility within the family and social environment, to overcome all types of racism and discrimination and live the human and evangelical values in the daily life of the relationship. It is doing the greatest good possible to find myself in front of a concrete need of a human-brother who cries out for help.

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