The Pope touches down in Bolivia on the next leg of his homecoming tour of South America. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Pope Francis arrived in Bolivia on Wednesday (July 08), praising the government of leftist President Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader whose frosty relationship with the Catholic Church has begun to thaw under the Argentine pontiff's papacy. Morales has nationalised key industries such as oil and gas to finance social programmes that have slashed poverty in the Andean country. The pontiff's message in his homecoming tour of South America has seen a strong focus on looking after the poor. Named after St Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226 after living a life of poverty and simplicity, the Pope has been well-received by Latin American leftists. Bolivia's economy has tripled in size during the nine years under Morales, a prominent member of South America's leftist bloc, and the number of Bolivians living in extreme poverty has fallen to one in five from more than a third of the population of 10 million in 2006. It remains, however, one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Francis urged Morales to be sure to blend economic growth with social justice. The Pope will say a Mass in Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia on Thursday (July 9) and the next day is scheduled to visit the notoriously violent Palmasola prison.