Bolivian President Evo Morales Gives 'Communist Crucifix' to Pope Francis | NBC 6 South Florida

Bolivian President Evo Morales Gives 'Communist Crucifix' to Pope Francis

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    Bolivian President Evo Morales Gives 'Communist Crucifix' to Pope Francis
    AP
    Pope Francis is presented with a gift of a crucifix carved into a wooden hammer and sickle, the Communist symbol uniting labor and peasants, by Bolivian President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia, July 8, 2015.

    Pope Francis arrived in Bolivia on Wednesday on the second leg of his South American tour, where he was given a series of politically loaded gifts from president Evo Morales, including a crucifix carved into a wooden hammer and sickle, the Communist symbol uniting labor and peasants.

    Shortly after arriving in Bolivia, Francis had stopped his motorcade along a highway at the site where a Jesuit priest, the Rev. Luis Espinal, was left in 1980 after being detained and tortured by Bolivia's paramilitary squads.

    "Remember one of our brothers, a victim of interests that didn't want him to fight for Bolivia's freedom," Francis said from the popemobile to a crowd gathered at the site. "Father Espinal preached the Gospel, the Gospel that bothered them, and because of this they got rid of him."

    The slain priest had a similar crucifix to the one given to Francis by Morales.

    Another politically charged gift was a copy of "The Book of the Sea," which is about the loss of Bolivia's access to the sea during the War of the Pacific with Chile in 1879-83. Bolivia has taken its bid to renegotiate access to the Pacific to the International Court of Justice, arguing that its poverty is due in part to being land-locked. Chile has argued the court has no jurisdiction since Bolivia's borders were defined by a 1904 treaty.

    For more on the Pope's visit, click here.

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