Monday, December 10, 2012

Dom Pedro Casaldaliga forced to leave home due to death threats

EFE (English translation by Rebel Girl)

Glória Casaldáliga, the niece of Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, who was forced to leave São Félix do Araguaia, in Mato Grosso, because of threats related to his work in favor of the Xavante, stated on Sunday that her uncle is "OK, but very worried about the situation." In an interview with Radio Catalunya, Glória stated that the bishop, who is 84 and suffers from Parkinson's, decided to leave his home in Brazil "not just for his safety, but also for that of the other people who live there."

Glória Casaldàliga talked with her uncle yesterday afternoon and said that in spite of the circumstances that forced him to leave his residence, she found him "OK and calm." The bishop's niece added that her uncle wants "this situation to end as soon as possible" and also that he "very much wants to go back to his home in São Felix with 'his own'." Pedro Casaldáliga left the town of São Félix do Araguaia due to an upsurge in the threats he has been receiving for years because of his work in favor of the Xavante, an indigenous support organization told EFE.

"Dom Pedro is safe," said a spokesman for the Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI), an organization linked to the diocese, who declined to say where Casaldáliga was taken. According to him, the bishop is in a place where he is protected by the federal police. CIMI reported that threats have doubled in recent weeks, apparently due to an impending court decision which, according to judicial sources, is likely to be in favor of the Xavante in a case involving the ownership of lands that are located near Sao Felix do Araguaia.

For more than two decades the Xavante have counted on the support of Casaldáliga, who came to this remote Mato Grosso township in 1968. Born in Balsareny, in Barcelona, Casadáliga came to Amazonia after spending seven years as a missionary in Equatorial Guinea. In Mato Grosso, the bishop embraced liberation theology, a current born in the grassroots movements of the Catholic Church in Brazil.

See also Nota de solidariedade a Dom Pedro Casaldáliga, a statement of support for Dom Pedro signed by multiple local NGOs.

Photo: Dom Pedro with some Xavante members of his flock.

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