Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto of Huancayo (pictured) is the new president of the Catholic Church’s Amazon network in South America.
The Pan-Amazonian Church Network, REPAM, announced this week that Cardinal Barreto would replace Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who has led the network since its founding six years ago.
Cardinal Barreto, 76, takes the helm at a critical time for REPAM as it looks for ways to respond to increased pressures on Amazon communities while working through internal organisational changes. Those pressures have been further complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cardinal Barreto told reporters that indigenous communities in the Amazon continued to suffer from encroachment even as they were dealing with Covid-19. “While the pandemic forced communities to lock down, large-scale investors did not rest a single day in deforesting the Amazon. The pandemic further exposed the contradictions we have been living through in the Amazon.”