July 5-13 Pope Francis will be in South America visiting the continent's poorest nations: Ecuador, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
"Bolivia and Paraguay are the continent's poorest countries, writes Nicole Winfield for the Associated Press, with one in four Bolivians living on $2 a day, according to the World Bank. The countries are also small in population and weight compared to regional powerhouses like Chile and Argentina."
"Here you see a bit the pope's criteria: To go to visit even those countries that aren't geopolitically at the top rank of the world panorama," said the Vatican spokesman, the Father Federico Lombardi.
"Indigenous people will take center stage during much of Pope's visit," says Winfield "while Francis' own Jesuit order will be in the spotlight for its role in evangelizing the continent centuries ago and even today. Environmental concerns in the Amazon, border conflicts and the region's tortured history with authoritarian regimes also factor into the agenda."
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