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Peasants and Mothers of Missing Say Mexico Diocese Barring Them from Pope

Ignacio Alvarado Alvarez - Al Jazeera
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February 15, 2016
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Pope visits Mexico's indigenous Chiapas state (Al Jazeera)

Mesh wire was hurriedly erected along a half-mile section of a route that Pope Francis will transit when he arrives in the Mexican border city of Juárez on Feb. 17. It’s just a small part of the more than 10 miles the pope intends to cover that day, but it offers a glimpse at the actions undertaken by local officials and businessmen to silence Juárez’s victims of violence, poverty and banishment.

“That was the space we were given by the local diocese to make a human chain to receive the pope. The only place where we could speak out to demonstrate our reality has been taken away from us by the authorities,” said Martin Solis, the leader of El Barzón, a peasant organization that has denounced the exploitation of water and land grabs with the use of terrorist tactics, including murder and kidnapping.

Francis chose this point of the border with Texas to end his first visit to Mexico with an unprecedented Mass on the banks of the Rio Grande. Local authorities estimate that more than 210,000 people will participate in the event, and it is expected that thousands more will do the same on the United States side, where giant television screens will be placed. The Mass will be directed to migrants, the focus of his agenda in Mexico.

After arriving in Mexico City, Francis is scheduled to visit Ecatepec, a troubled municipality of the state of Mexico that not only is a crossing point for migrants but also has one of the highest rates of femicide in the country. He will then travel to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, the main entry point for Central American migrants seeking to reach the U.S. From there he heads to Morelia, the capital of Michoacán, the second-largest push region for undocumented Mexicans.

But what distinguishes Juárez from other cities on the tour is that here more than anywhere it is possible to see the failures of the contemporary global economic model.

Read the rest at Al Jazeera

Related: Pope's "No" to Meeting with Relatives of Disappeared Discourages Them (Mexico Voices)

Related: The Dark Side of Mexico the Pope Didn't See (The Arizona Republic)

Related: Pope Francis Mexico Visit Draws Skepticism from Mexicans Weary of Poverty, Corruption and Violence (IBTimes)

Related: What It’s Like to Be a Priest in the Trouble Spots the Pope is Visiting in Mexico (VICE News)

Related: Pope Francis Will Finish His Mexico Trip at the Edge of the Rio Grande (Reporting Texas)

Related: Pope Heads to Mexico's Indigenous South as Catholic Fervor Fades (Reuters)

Related: Pope Visits Children's Hospital in Mexico City (Jpost)

Related: Pope Says Mass for 400,000 in Crime-Ridden Mexico City Suburb (Independent)

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