Armando’s Report from Venezuela

(para leer esta entrada en español, haz clic aquí)

Recently Armando Márquez participated in an important summit meeting in Venezuela of Christian Base Communities (CEBs) from throughout the Americas in his role as secretary of SICSAL . We are proud to publish his report from that conference:


As of Friday the 17th of August I have been in Venezuela participating in the International Summit on Liberation Spirituality, organized by various organizations: FUNDALATIN, FEDERAM, EQUIPO ROMERO VIVE, UPEV, CECOCE and ECUVIVIES (member of SICSAL).

Yves Carrier was a volunteer with the Christian Base Communities in the nineties, and in 2008, he and his daughter Casiopea came to El Salvador for a few months to accompany the community of Santa Cecilia in San Salvador. Here, Yves and Armando exchange their publications.

There are more than 200 of us from different places in Venezuela and other countries: Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. My participation is in the role of Secretary of SICSAL and it has been a great joy to find myself here with others I know who belong to our network: Yves Carrier (Canada), Nidia Arrobo (Ecuador) and Lídice Navas (Venezuela); unfortunately Abilio Peña (Colombia) was not able to attend.

The main objective of the meeting is “to contribute to, strengthen and unite the liberating forces of all peoples on a national and international level who seek peace in the perspective of Liberation Theology”. I believe that we are attaining that objective because the reflection has been profound, inspiring and motivated by dedication on the part of groups and committee chairs. Moreover there is an ecumenical richness present at the summit. On Friday the 17th after registration and words of welcome we were presented with a motivating documentary titled “Wake up America”, created in homage to one of the inspirations of this meeting: Juan Vives Suria. The other figure whose inspiration is evident at this event is Mons. Oscar Romero and this among other things, allows a deep communion with the spirit of this encounter.

On Saturday the 18th we began with a prayer in the form of indigenous spirituality led by Nidia Arrobo. During the morning, we divided up into 4 work groups: 1) Bolivarism and Liberation Theology, 2) An ethic of liberation in defense of human rights, 3) Working towards a liberating media and 4) Spirituality and Politics.  In each working group the reflection came from discussion questions suggested by the facilitators, among them: Marcelo Barros (Brazil), Rubén Dri (Argentina), Numa Molina (Venezuela), Ignacio López Vigil (Ecuador) and Mari Pili Hernández (Venezuela). The reflections have been intense and profound, the fruit of the liberating praxis of all of us present.

In the afternoon, we had the plenary session in which we shared the synthesis of each group followed by reflections from various speakers. I was personally touched by the meditation on the Passion in the Garden of Olives given to us by the Minister of Youth for Venezuela, Mari Pili Hernández. The lecture presented by Teres Forcano, a Catalan religious and contemplative with doctorates in medicine and theology, was academically rigorous but also enlightening and refreshing. Marcelo Barros from the vantage point of his long ecumenical and liberated spiritual evolution feed us with his vision of the process of transformation that our countries are living. Ruben Dri, with his great theological career also dug deep into the theme of liberating ethics. Ignacio López Vigil, with his customary critical skill demolished the normal biblical distortions offered by the commercial media and the numerous Catholic or evangelical radio and television outlets, which tend to offer a dehumanizing or alienating message. Numa Molina helped us to recognize the characteristics and differences between an alienating or liberating message.

Sunday the 19th was the moment for the representatives of the each country to share briefly on their respective political situations. It was a time of rich sociopolitical and religious analysis, a review of this Latin American kairos we are experiencing in Latin America, Europe and North America.

Armando’s presentation in a panel at the summit in Venezuela.

The coordinating team allowed me a few minutes to share about the history, organization and the work of SICSAL. As a result, in light of the fact that they already share with SICSAL common objectives and a harmony and confluence of ideals and Christian liberating commitment, the Venezuelan networks made the decision to strengthen their networks by joining SICSAL. Finally, with a rich ecumenical liturgy presided over by women of diverse congregations we concluded this event in which the power with which the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth is acting in the world today.

In a future message I hope to share with you the final communiqué that synthesizes very well the contents and agreements of the meeting; in addition, on our web site we will continue to place the final reports, photographs and other important documents.

I send you all a warm embrace from here in Venezuela, where via the Socialismo del Siglo 21 movement, has set forth the process of political liberation that contains the seeds of the Kingdom and is, with its limitations, hope for the poor, for the indigenous and afro peoples, for women, for the youth, and whose victory in the next elections in October will be a Bolivarian and Latin American victory

Armando Márquez Ochoa
Secretary – SICSAL


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