Cardinal Sees Abuses in Loans to Poor Nations

GENOA, Italy, NOV. 23, 2005 ( Loans by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as country-to-country loans, are usurious and should be declared illegal, says the archbishop of Genoa.

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Cardinal Tarsicio Bertone voiced this criticism when speaking about low-income nations during a congress entitled «We Are Still in Debt: Africa Cannot Wait.»

The congress was organized by the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in collaboration with Italy-Africa, the Genoa Municipality and the Justice and Solidarity Foundation.

«Debt in fact becomes usury when it harms the inalienable right to life, namely, all those rights that have not been given to man but that belong to him by nature,» Cardinal Bertone told the congress. His words were broadcast by Vatican Radio.

The cardinal also criticized the «technocrats, especially those of the multinationals, of the World Bank and of the Monetary Fund, who impose on poor populations unacceptable conditions, such as compulsory sterilization or the obligation to close Catholic schools.»

He described usury as «indirect homicide when it causes death and fosters misery and poverty.»

He said a debt of $6,000 weighs on each child born in low-income nations, half of whose gross national product goes toward paying the interest on the debt.

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