Courtesy Reuters

Let me begin with a story. It occurs in a backward rural area of Panama. Perhaps it may help toward a better understanding, in simple terms, of the larger subject of the Americas.

Some years ago when I was Bishop of a poor rural Diocese in the Republic of Panama, a situation of conflict developed between the residents of a small town and the "campesinos" (poor farmers) of the surrounding district. The conflict was basically economic; but it took on many other aspects, became quite emotional and developed into situations of violence.

To understand the problem one must understand the area. The district is hilly, partly jungle, and undeveloped in that it lacks roads and, outside of the main town, electricity and running water. The town had about 600 inhabitants. It had a complete primary school. Most of the people in the town could get their children through primary school and

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