Dom Helder Camara, the outspoken Bishop of Recife who recently spoke out in Paris against alleged ill-treatment of inmates in Brazil's prisons, has thrown open his churches to the suffering poor of the north-east region.
SV Bishop Camara down steps of building
SCU Bishop leaves grounds - walking along street (3 shots)
SV Bishop and companion towards church
SV Locals making mattresses inside church
SV Bishop in church - PAN to mattress made
CU mural painting
GV Bishop looks at workers outside church (2 shots)
CU Bishop and companion
SV Hut being built
SV Children stamping mud (2 shots)
SV Unfinished huts
SV Bishop among huts, talks to villagers
SV Man clearing land
CU Old woman
SV Bishop talks to man inside unfinished hut (3 shots)
SV Workers on top of unfinished roof
GV Building with children and workers
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE ALSO SERVICING A STATEMENT BY BISHOP CAMARA, CRITICAL OF THE SITUATION IN BRAZIL, IN OUR PRODUCTION NO. 5058/70.
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Background: Dom Helder Camara, the outspoken Bishop of Recife who recently spoke out in Paris against alleged ill-treatment of inmates in Brazil's prisons, has thrown open his churches to the suffering poor of the north-east region.
Another aspect of his work is the building of simple housing in the area of the many without homes, enlisting the help of the needy people themselves.
He calls his project among the poor "Operation Hope."
Always an area of under-development by comparison with the south of Brazil, the north-east has this year has to contend with months of drought, which has brought famine, unemployment and even slavery to some of the region's 28 million people.
The region has a third of Brazil's 90 million population, and a rapidly rising birth rate. Infant mortality is at the rate of nearly 20 per cent annum.
Large landowners, forming only about 4-5 per cent of the population, own between 60 and 70 per cent of the land.
Despite Government efforts at industrial development, especially at Recife, capital of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, on the north-east coast, under the auspices of the Superintendency for the North-East (SUDENE), the North-East peasant has remained penniless through the biter summer draught.
The Press is full of reports of workers, children and women included, being sold into slavery for small amounts of money.
The military Government has used the armed forces to help with famine relief, and the crisis is expected to hasten agrarian and agricultural reforms which have been long delayed; efforts will also be made to re-activate SUDENE.
Helping to promote reform are outspoken priests like Bishop Camara, who has not hesitated to speak out against inaction along these lines, and use the resources of the Churches under his control to meet the needs of the people.