News / Americas

    Pope Visits Mexico's Poorest State

    People wave to Pope Francis as he arrives to celebrate Mass in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.
    People wave to Pope Francis as he arrives to celebrate Mass in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.
    VOA News

    Thousands of Mexicans gathered in a sports field in the impoverished southern state of Chiapas for an open-air mass Pope Francis conducted in three indigenous languages — Chol, Tzotzil and Tzeltal.  

    Pope Francis asked Mexico's indigenous population Monday for forgiveness for the exclusion they have suffered by society.

    "On many occasions, in a systematic and organized way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society," the pope said.  

    "Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them."

    Indigenous women weave wool to sell. San Juan Chamula, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.
    Indigenous women weave wool to sell. San Juan Chamula, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.

    During the service, Francis issued a decree allowing indigenous languages to be used during Catholic masses.

    He also warned that the Earth faces "one of the greatest environmental crises in world history."

    "The Earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she groans in travail," he said, adding that "the environmental challenge that we are experiencing and its human causes, affect us all and demand our response."

    Pope Francis kisses a baby in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.
    Pope Francis kisses a baby in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, Feb. 15, 2016.

    Francis arrived by aircraft Monday in the Mexican mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas, a center of Mayan indigenous culture.

    San Cristobal is home to two of the most famed religious defenders of indigenous people in Mexican history: Bishops Bartolome de las Casas in the 16th century and Samuel Ruiz, who died in 2011.

    Many officials accused Ruiz, who evangelized many indigenous, of acting on behalf of Zapatista rebels in their 1994 uprising for greater indigenous rights.

    From San Cristobal, the pope visits Morelia, the capital of the western state of Michoacan where farmers in 2013 took up arms to battle the so-called Knights Templar drug cartel.

    On Sunday, Francis held an open-air Mass for some 300,000 Roman Catholic faithful in Mexico City's gritty suburb of Ecatepec.

    Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Ecatepec, Mexico, Feb. 14, 2016, with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.
    Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Ecatepec, Mexico, Feb. 14, 2016, with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.

    The pontiff spoke out against the drug trade and associated violence; a central theme of his five-day visit.

    On Saturday, the Pope called on Mexican leaders to provide "true justice" and security in the country after years of endemic drug violence, official corruption and poverty.

    Children in Tzotzil community in the village of San Juan Chamula, Mexico, ask tourists to buy handicrafts, Feb. 15, 2016.
    Children in Tzotzil community in the village of San Juan Chamula, Mexico, ask tourists to buy handicrafts, Feb. 15, 2016.

    Francis told President Enrique Peña Nieto and assembled lawmakers in Mexico City they have a responsibility to help citizens gain access to "indispensable material and spiritual goods," including housing, employment and a peaceful environment.

    In a separate address to Mexican bishops, Francis urged the clerics to take a more aggressive stand against drug trafficking and corruption. He challenged church leaders to denounce what he called the "insidious threat" posed by trafficking.

    Francis caps his visit Wednesday in the U.S.-Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's former murder capital, where he is expected to address issues of crime, trafficking and migration.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: jr from: br
    February 15, 2016 7:29 PM
    "Papa Francisco es mui buena persona." Pope Francis is a too very person. Probably the best Pope since Peter Paul I, who died so soon in his term. His humbleness touch the Christians even those who are not Catholic as me.

    by: lone eagle from: Bangkok, Thailand
    February 15, 2016 10:07 AM
    "In a separate address to Mexican bishops, Francis urged the clerics to take a more aggressive stand against drug trafficking and corruption."

    Hopefully they will as no other institution inside or outside Mexico except the Church of Christ has the moral authority to do so.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    El Chapo's Extradition to US Suspended

    Mexican judge rules that more of defense's arguments must be heard before drug lord is sent to US for trial

    North American Leaders to Discuss Climate Change, Trade in Canada

    President Obama, PM Trudeau, and President Peña Nieto will meet in Ottawa Wednesday and are expected to focus on climate change as well as trade

    Chile Seeks to Fight Obesity With New Food Labeling Law

    South American country has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world

    US Media Scrutinize Wave of Chinese Migrants Illegally Crossing From Mexico

    Reports show US officials caught 663 Chinese nationals illegally crossing from Mexico into San Diego, California, from last October through May

    Mexican Women Victims of Rape, Torture When Arrested

    Amnesty International finds a majority of women arrested in Mexico are sexually abused and tortured in the hours following their arrest

    Cuban Hotel Becomes First to Operate Under US Brand

    Military-owned Gaviota 5th Avenue Hotel, close to Caribbean seafront, is one of two hotels Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide agreed to manage in multimillion-dollar deal with Cuba in March