Almost from the beginning, liberation theologians such as the Dominican Gustavo Guttierrez, Leonardo Boff, Hugo Asmann, et al, have insisted that, in its "preferential option for the poor", the Gospel encourages these same poor to seize the reins of power and the modes of production, in an effort to build Paradise on earth-the socialist state. But a new generation of liberationists are rethinking this strategy, FINALLY realizing that, as Alexa Smith notes, "political and economic power is too easily corrupted and that it too readily ignores the needs of the poor".
Is Liberation Theology taking a new turn? The main mission of the Church, for many Liberationists of the old school, was to form labor and guerrilla organizations that would further this preferential option for the poor. But it seems that, whatever distance the new generation is now establishing between itself and socialism, maintaining that a socialist state is not necessary, it nonetheless maintains a fundamentally secular understanding of the Church's essential mission. This time it focusses on local, as opposed to national and international, organization.
Nonetheless, these are very fascinating trends. It seems that there is now a recognition of the fact that the Gospel is not inseparably tied to any economic or governmental system. Perhaps that is a lesson we Gringo Christians can learn as well.
Here's the link to the article: http://www.villagelife.org/church/archives/pres_latinamerican.html