LIMA, Peru, JULY 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The fight against corruption and the improvement of education are the priorities for the development of Latin America, says a Vatican foundation.
The bishops who administer the “Populorum Progressio” Foundation are meeting in Lima through Sunday, to study the hundreds of solidarity and development projects they will aid financially.
Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez of Guadalajara, Mexico, told ZENIT that this year the foundation has given priority to educational projects for development, comprising 60% of the total, whereas in previous years education represented only 16%.
The cardinal explained that the foundation at present regards education as the key area for the development of Latin America. In past years production, community infrastructure and health projects received more attention.
“I think that all peoples, especially in Latin America, have their future founded on education as, if there is no education, all the other projects break down; the education of the people is the basis for development,” said the cardinal.
Bishop José Luis Astigarraga Lizarralde, apostolic vicar of Yurimaguas, Peru, told ZENIT that a political and social study has been made of the countries of Latin America, and that the bishops have come to the conclusion that corruption is the most worrying and repeated topic.
The prelate recalled that in 2002 Pope John Paul II addressed a message to the foundation warning that the situation in Latin America was regrettable because of injustices and corruption, which paralyzed the development of communities.
“I think that if the political leaders, those who manage public administration, have up to now had their backs turned to the people they will soon have to walk with them, because the people no longer tolerate their turning their backs on them,” the prelate said.
“Populorum Progressio,” founded in 1992 by John Paul II, assists Indians, mestizos, and Afro-Americans in Latin America.