Pope Francis concludes his four-day visit to Ecuador this Wednesday, and will head for La Paz, Bolivia, where he will be received by President Evo Morales and other officials.
According to www.telesurtv.net/english, the Pope urged Tuesday faithful Ecuadorians to “fight for social inclusion” during an outdoor mass in the Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
“There is a need to fight for inclusion of all at all levels, avoiding selfishness, and promoting communication and dialogue,” the pontiff told the massive crowd at the Bicentennial Park.
The pope’s comments come on the heels of right-wing protests in Ecuador following government proposals to raise taxes on inheritance and capital gains. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, insists the measures are necessary to address the country’s rampant inequality, saying that only the wealthiest 2 percent of Ecuadoreans will be affected.
Nonetheless, the opposition demonstrations – some of which have turned violent – have continued, in spite of calls from Ecuadorean officials for a national debate on wealth distribution.
In Bolivia, President Morales declared Wednesday a holiday in La Paz, and Thursday, in Santa Cruz, so that people can participate in all of the pope’s events. He also imposed a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol beverages Tuesday through Thursday.
In El Alto, a municipality of the capital La Paz, workers continued building a special campus from which the pope will address the country after arriving in the city at around 3:00 p.m. local time.
The Pope will tour various main streets of La Paz before arriving at the presidential palace to meet with Morales. He will then go to the Metropolitan Cathedral for more meetings with various leaders of society.
Later on Wednesday, he will go to Santa Cruz and will stay at the house of the only Bolivian cardinal, Julio Terrazas.