08 August 2011

In Hope We Trust

I recall entering into an intense political conversation with a politically intense member of the Central American clergy at dinner one evening.  He lambasted American policy in the area, the Obama’s administration’s (alleged – in his mind) support of the coup in Honduras two years ago and the evil machinations of the Department of State throughout the known universe.

As the conversation continued, in rapidly and intensely spoken Spanish, I kept trying to ask a question.  I think I articulated it sufficiently and in several different ways.  The nub of the question can be stated thusly:

After hearing your criticisms, what then, is your hope for this part of the world?
My repeated inquiries encountered more criticism of the United States, more condemnations of the policies of the Central American government and more tales of exploits of individual people making bombastic and public criticisms of the governments just mentioned. 
But, what then, I persisted, is the hope?  What will a (more) just place resemble?  How can progress be quantified? 

And finally, what can anyone do to bring these new realities to bear?

The man sitting across the table from me answered with more criticisms.

Thus, as I am sitting on retreat, looking at the pine trees of southern Massachusetts, I found myself wondering: what does progress look like for Central America? And, perhaps even more importantly, how can it be achieved?

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