LATIN AMERICAN MEETING “CAMILO TORRES” – Camilo Torres Command (1967)

Juan García Elorrio

[The Camilo Torres Command was founded in 1967 in Argentina by Juan García Elorrio as a militant Catholic and revolutionary group–inspired by the guerilla priest Camilo Torres and Paul VI’s Populorum progressio–which aimed to engage in rural guerilla warfare in Santa Fe or Tucumán. The Camilo Torres Command was comprised of Casiana Ahumada, Fernando Abal Medina, Nuncio Aversa, Alicia Frete, and Graciela Daleo.
On May 1, 1967, the Camilo Torres Command entered the Cathedral of Buenos Aires and interrupted a mass which was being celebrated by Cardinal Caggiano in honor of Saint Joseph the Worker, and which was attended by the military dictator President Onganía. Juan García Elorrio anticipated Caggiano’s homily and began to read a prayer out loud. During this time, other militants of the Commando, including two priests named Balerini and Sanchez, went to the central nave of the cathedral and began praying. Near the end of the mass, the police arrested them all. A video of this disruption can be found here. More information regarding the group can be found here.
Juan García Elorrio was also a founding member of the revolutionary Catholic journal Cristianismo y Revolución.]

  1. This hour in Latin America demands the active participation of Christians who see in revolution “the only way to practice love for all.” (Camilo Torres)
  2. The social, economic, and practical conditions of Latin America point to the permanent violence exercised against millions of brothers and sisters by the exploiters, the supporters of “order,” the national oligarchies, the repressive armies and the monopolies of yankee imperialism. This reactionary violence can only be fought and defeated through the use of revolutionary violence. Christians have a duty to fully take on this inexorable condition of the struggle for liberation.
  3. The exception indicated by Paul VI in the encyclical “Populorum Progressio”, that justifies “revolutionary insurrection” in cases of “longstanding tyranny which would do great damage to fundamental personal rights and dangerous harm to the common good of the country” is entirely applicable in the great majority of the countries of our continent, because the action of Yankee imperialism, of capitalism and of neo-colonialism is the evident and permanent form of tyranny over our peoples. “Every sincere revolutionary recognizes that armed struggle is the only way left.” (Camilo Torres)
  4. Christians have a duty to repudiate all “developmentalist” and “reformist” solutions that attempt to superficially resolve the problems of hunger, illiteracy, unemployment and social injustice without radically and profoundly modifying the imperialist and reactionary structures that are intended to prevent in any way the exercising of power by the majority. Likewise, Christians have a duty to avoid falling into the temptation of proclaiming a “Christian revolution” or a “Christian socialism” which presents itself as a false option on the path of liberation. 
  5. Following the teachings of Pope John XXIII in the encyclical “Pacem in Terris”, Christians have a duty to prepare to honestly and fairly collaborate with all authentic revolutionaries, who lead from the vanguard the process of struggle through popular movements and armies of liberation. This collaboration of Christians, save fundamental ideological differences, must be concretized with the broadest spirit of generosity, trust, loyalty and hope. This is the true sense of the “dialogue” between Catholics and Marixists, believers and non-believers, officially promoted by the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council.  
  6. Militant and revolutionary Christianity in Latin America, in which the Catholics and the brothers of the different Christian churches are actively integrated, must consider and discuss frankly and exhaustively these fundamental issues which form the evangelical (i.e., evangelistic) conscience of our times and signal the deep (…) in Christians, and that they affirm their fidelity to the cause of liberation or to complicity with the exploiters and persecutors of millions of our brothers.
  7. Convocated under the name and example of Camilo Torres – true revolutionary exemplar of our time – revolutionary Christians of Latin America must meet to reflect upon our forms of commitment and militance; exchange the experiences of each of our respective peoples and our fields of struggle; valiantly affirm the sentiment of our struggle; effectively coordinate our tasks and show to our America and to the peoples of Asia and Africa who struggle heroically for their liberation, the authenticity and the presence of love that is made present in active solidarity with all men who hunger and thirst for justice.

!Liberation or death!

CAMILO TORRES COMMAND

Argentina

General Propositions Regarding the Summit

  1. That it should be celebrated February 15, 1968 to mark the second anniversary of the death of Camilo Torres in the Colombian guerrilla force.
  2. That there should be a call to all militant revolutionary Christians who are currently and actively committed in political, union, student, peasant, etc tasks; to the worker priests and priests who carry out their ministry in rural areas, favelas, slums, shantytowns, etc; to the intellectuals, thinkers, writers, and journalists committed to ideological work from a Christian perspective.
  3. That in every country there should be formed a preparatory committee or commission for the “Camilo Torres Latinamerican Summit” in which basic themes, concepts, tasks, communications and inputs that are of interest for the summit will be considered.
  4. That each country should organize, by way of the press and communication channels, a sign-up campaign for the “Camilo Torres Latinamerican Summit.”
  5. That in countries where conditions permit, a National Summit of Revolutionary Christians in preparation for the Latinamerican Summit should be held.

[- translated by Bruv and @_DreamWeaver]