Religion: The Church of the Poor

Latin America's comunidades de base keep growing

Among the shabby, working-class shacks of Volta Redonda, a Brazilian steel town of 150,000 in the state of Rio de Janeiro, small groups of neighbors gathered on five different nights last week for a few hours of discussion. Steelworkers, retired welders, grandfathers, young housewives with children on their laps, sipped coffee on borrowed chairs and swapped views on local and national problems: the endless waiting lines at the state hospital, the expulsion of rural squatters by land speculators, nonexistent sanitation and paving in their city. "Mud...

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