Poverty

One of the most evident realities of the region is extensive extreme poverty. As in any impoverished community, it is a complicated reality with many factors. For many who are farmers and owners of livestock, the difficult conditions present a constant challenge. The prevalence of informal employment allows many employers to avoid paying minimum wage to their workers and often allows them not to offer employee related benefits.

If we are to combat the true source of poverty within the Prelature, charitable services will never be enough in themselves. The root of the material poverty of the region is a spiritual poverty. The virtues that make good people are the same that make a good society: honor, integrity, temperance, responsibility, compassion, trust, love… Without these, a community cannot flourish.

The lack of formation in these virtues is what most debilitates the communities of the Prelature on all levels. On the political level, the High Andes is not isolated from corruption, and so the people can be victims of extortion from the local or federal government. However it is the lack of formation among the common people that is most detrimental. Egoism impedes others from forming a society founded on love; a society of people who mutually support each other. Moreover, the damage is often self-inflicted as the person can irresponsibly spoil his or her resources on things which do not improve one’s quality of life such as alcoholism, spending money on unnecessary material items to the detriment of items necessary for the needs of the family.

Charitable services will always be a necessary service as long as extreme poverty continues to exist within the prelature. Nevertheless, the most authentic and enduring remedy is formation in the virtues that in turn form a civilization of love.