Bolivia’s President Evo Morales met with Pope Francis Saturday in the Vatican. During the meeting, the sixth between president Morales and the Argentine-born Pope, they discussed many of the issues affecting the region.
Morales traveled to the Vatican for the church council Thursday, in which the Pope appointed 14 new cardinals, including Bolivia’s and Latin America’s first Indigenous cardinal, Toribio Porco Ticona.
Morales expressed his excitement through social media. “Emotional consecration of brother Toribio Ticona as Cardinal in Bolivia. A historical and unprecedented act, not only for the country and the region but for all the world’s Indigenous movement. Now the church has a cardinal of the people,” Morales wrote on Twitter.
Ticona is a priest of rural and mining town of Coro Coro, west of La Paz. Before becoming a priest, Ticona also worked as a miner.
Morales and the Pope spoke about Bolivia's ongoing maritime dispute with neighboring Chile. “The brother pope Francis always asks about the sea issue, is a fact and he knows the history, surely he will ask, and we will talk about that issue as well.”
The dispute, which is being heard at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, was also discussed in the previous meetings between the pair.
According to a statement, Pope Francis and Morales held a "cordial conversation" on bilateral relations and the "regional situation."
According to the Vatican, the Pope highlighted the duty Morales had to “work for a world of solidarity and peace, built on justice.” The pair also exchanged gifts according to the Vatican with the Pope gifting a medallion of the Angel of Peace, “which traps the demon of war and injustice.”
During Friday mass Pope Francis urged Christians to stop justifying and keeping themselves “far from real human dramas, which preserve us from contact with other people's concrete existence and, in the end, from knowing the revolutionary power of God's tender love."