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Bruno López comments on the growth of Protestantism in Latin America and the clash with Catholic groups:
In Mexico one of the things that has surprised me is to see how communities have become polarized not so much because of religious differences as because of economic imbalances. These develop because Protestant families tend not to participate in all the syncretic ceremonies on which Catholics spend a lot of their resources, such as the holidays honoring the town's saints into which people pour their scarce resources. It is not rare for people from Oaxaca or Chiapas to come to the U.S. to work for a year and save up to sponsor their town's festivities. From the moment Protestants stop participating in these events they also begin to accumulate wealth, and this starts some serious fighting. I've seen it happen many times in southern Mexico. These clashes, many times bloody, are more because of envy and money than religion.
My comment: Some WAISers justify these fiestas because they bring joy to otherwise depressing existences. The fact is that in Brazil, for example, the poor spend on carnival large amounts of money and time which otherwise could help ensure a less drab existence.
Ronald Hilton - 10/29/99