Argentine Decries "Sinful" State of Latin America

President de la Rúa Speaks at Gregorian University

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 5, 2001 ( Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa lamented that Latin America is living in «sinful situations that cry out to heaven,» and said the answer lies in fostering justice and peace in the region.

The Argentine chief executive made these observations when he attended an academic event at the Pontifical Gregorian University, to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the school´s foundation.

«Our South American peoples hunger and thirst for justice,» de la Rúa said. He was accompanied on the dais by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope´s vicar for the Diocese of Rome; and Jesuit Father Franco Imoda, rector of the school.

«The diagnosis includes structural situations and contemporary problems, the weight of irresponsible indebtedness and protectionist barriers, institutionalized corruption that destroys the culture of work, and drug and arms trafficking,» the president said.

«As the magisterium of the Church has stated,» he added, «all of these are ´sinful situations that cry out to heaven,´ which must be healed so that there will be real peace, a ´work of justice´ that exacts respect for the inalienable rights of the person.»

«Today, in many parts of the world, people do not enjoy political rights, especially individual [rights],» he continued. «Even in the so-called developed world, we find contempt for fundamental rights, when abortion, genetic manipulation and xenophobia are legitimized.» The best response lies in the Church´s social doctrine, de la Rúa concluded.

Argentina´s economy is facing a difficult moment. In May, the country has payments of $1.3 billion due on its public debt, and similar payments due in June. Investors fear the county won´t be able to meet the payments because of its growing fiscal deficits and economic stagnation.

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