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Pope Francis Faces Test in South America

July 9, 2015 (EIRNS)—Pope Francis’s trip to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay July 5-13 will be a test of whether his common sense will prevail over the ideological approach of the new encyclical, Laudato Si’, heavily influenced by Malthusian agent John Schellnhuber. Indeed, Francis is confronting very real cases in which radical environmentalism prevents development and ensures misery.

One such case has developed in Bolivia, where President Evo Morales has stated that his government will not accept “green imperialism,” or any attempt to stop the country from developing its natural resources. On June 18, Morales had announced that the state oil company would develop a new oil deposit located inside a “nature reserve” in the department of Santa Cruz, and that any NGO or foundation which stands in the way of exploiting this oil, will be expelled from the country.

On the same day, the Vatican released the Papal Encyclical, and the Catholic Archbishop of Sucre, Jesus Juarez, immediately accused Morales of violating the tenets of the encyclical, demanding that “these reserves, which are the lungs of a nation, have to be respected, and the Government should look for a way to not destroy this work created by the Lord, so beautiful and fair for the Indians.”

During the summit between the EU and the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) in Brussels on June 10, Morales issued a challenge: “Those of us who live in the South do not accept, nor will we accept that we be the park rangers for those who live in the North. That is a colonial mentality; that is green imperialism which is not going to bring any solution.”

Radical environmentalist groups have already taken the government to court, and are mobilizing “indigenous” people against the government decree issued on May 20, which allows the exploitation of hydrocarbons found in the 7 million hectares of Bolivian territory removed from productive use under the designation as a “nature reserve.”

Bolivia is in the center of a large movement for the economic integration of South America. Morales, in particular, has been active in the past weeks to ensure that his country is included in the project of the interoceanic infrastructural corridor Brazil-Peru, whose current project goes north of Bolivia. The first ever bilateral Peru-Bolivia cabinet meeting took place on June 23 in Puno, Peru. President Humala told Bolivian TV after the Puno meeting that Peru will seriously study Bolivia’s proposed alternative route, which would connect the Brazilian and Peruvian coasts through Bolivia.