Donations from Caritas chapters across Mexico started streaming into affected areas after an earthquake rocked central Mexico on 19th September, claiming more than 300 lives, levelling homes and churches and leaving thousands homeless.
Some of those donations being trucked into Morelos state, just south of Mexico City, were stopped, however, and diverted to government-run collection centres, said Bishop Ramon Castro Castro of Cuernavaca. He sounded the alarm in a short video – and set off a scandal.
“This surpasses any minimal moral logic,” Bishop Castro said in an online video, which described how three trucks with Caritas supplies were detained, then diverted by police. “I ask those who have the authority and ability to stop this to do so.”
Bishop Castro’s video went viral in Mexico, where people have responded to the earthquake with generosity and rushed to rescue those trapped in rubble, even risking their own lives and working without sleep in the process.
But his comments have come to embody the country’s fatigue with politicians, some of whom have been chased away or jeered by irate locals while visiting disaster areas. Some politicians have put their promotion or logos on supplies or made assistance in poor areas conditional on recipients showing an electoral identification.
Picture: Bishop Ramon Castro Castro of Cuernavaca, Mexico, celebrates Mass on 24th September outside the city’s cathedral, which dates to the 1500s and was badly damaged by the 19th September earthquake in Mexico. (CNS photo/David Agren).