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  • Morales speaking in Tarija on Friday.

    Morales speaking in Tarija on Friday. | Photo: ABI

Published 19 April 2019

Morales has sought to highlight the link between Christianity and social equality.

As the Catholic world celebrates "Semana Santa," or Holy Week, Bolivia’s leftist president said Friday that the best way to honor faith is “serve the people.”

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Morales was speaking in the southern Bolivian department of Tarija , at a site where the country’s nationalized gas company, YPFB, is carrying out its work.  

On Twitter Morales added; “he [Jesus] was executed as an innocent for defending the poor. Our homage to Jesus is to serve the Bolivian people. That’s why we work so that the people not be a slave to the state, but the state be at the service of the people.”

However, the president is not normally known for being religious. When Evo Morales came to power, he presided over the separation of church and state, declaring Bolivia a secular nation, and removing the symbolic presidential bible from the palace of government.

Despite that, he has always sought to highlight the link between Christianity and social equality. When Pope Francis visited Bolivia in 2015, President Morales gave the Pope a gift of a crucifix in the shape of a Communist hammer and sickle. The ornament was a replica of a famous crucifix owned by the radical Bolivian priest Luis Espinal, who was tortured and killed in 1980 by the military dictatorship.

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