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The Cry of the Indigenous in Latin America

Darío Caal, C.PP.S

The history and the reality of the indigenous people who inhabit the Guatemalan State is a history of suffering, of pain, and of death. It is a history marked by agonic signs of life. They are signs which can be revitalized or extinguished. The reflections which Fr. Robert Schreiter presented in his book In Water and in Blood gives us a blueprint and necessary orientations for responding with a spirituality of solidarity in a world torn apart by conflict, divisions, and violence. Little by little that spirituality of solidarity and the challenges it presents are giving form to and taking hold in the diverse situations which conform our world, especially in Latin America.

To speak of the spirituality of the Blood as a spirituality of solidarity in countries where "the ethnic minorities" live (John Paul II, January 1989) is becoming relevant. Guatemala and other countries which have indigenous groups constitute "the ethnic majorities" which live in situations of oppression and desert. In Exodus 3, 2-9 God enters into solidarity with his people and comes to meet them because "he has seen their tribulation" in Egypt, and has "heard their cries due to the hardness of their foremen", "and knowing what they are suffering", has come down to liberate them from the hands of the egyptians; "and to help them go from that land to a good and spacious land, a land of milk and honey". "Summing up, the cry of the sons and daughters of Israel reached" the ears of God; and he "saw their affliction and how they were oppressed".

This see, hear, come down and liberate Israel from the hands of the egyptians on God's part are concrete facts, acts of solidarity, a way of identifying himself totally with the oppressed, the marginalyzed, and the poor who are oppressed by a small minority. They are slaves, exploited by a small structure. God takes on their pain and their suffering. God comes into solidarity with them, not in a romantic but in a practical way: Come and see, free my people from Egypt (Exodus 3,10). God becomes incarnate in the people, he becomes the God of the people and Israel, the People of God. He is inculturated because he becomes perceptible, enters into dialogue and is near, and that is way the Covenant reads: "I am your God and you will be my people". If Yahveh is known by his people, it means that God understands them in their cultural context, in their language, in their daily lives, in their suffering, and in their food, because he uses the same cultural codes in order to give of himself and to communicate with the suffering people of Israel in Egypt.

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