© Fides

Argentina: Bishops Discuss Poverty, Drug Addiction

G20 Meeting in Buenos Aires

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Drug addiction and endless social crises were the topics discussed November 28, 2018, at the Offices of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Argentina by two Bishops representing the Bishops’ Conference, and two government ministers involved in the issue.
According to information sent to Fides News Agency, the diocesan bishop of Lomas de Zamora also president of the Bishops’ Social Pastoral Commission, Mons. Jorge Lugones, with Mons. Fernando Maletti, bishop of Merlo-Moreno and a member of the same Commission met firstly with the head of the National front of Ciudad Autonoma of Buenos Aires, Cornelia Schmidt Liermann. During the meeting discussion focussed on drug addiction and government initiatives to address this serious problem among Argentine youth.
Secondly, the two bishops met the Minister of Social Development, Carolina Stanley, to address the difficult situation in the country. The meeting dealt with requests from social movements to tackle a situation of growing demands for social soup kitchens. The Argentinean government intends to issue vouchers and other benefits in view of the Christmas festivities.
With these meetings, the local Catholic Church keeps promises made to address the difficulties of the more vulnerable people, especially in view of two emergencies drug addiction and food crisis. For the first working on various fronts to tackle a scourge which destroys families. For the second involving directly the authorities to work together: in a country proud of exporting diverse food products, it is not possible to justify malnutrition among children or negligence regarding care for elderly members of society and whole families as it was reported after a previous meeting with the authorities on food security. On that occasion, the bishops expressed serious concern confirming their commitment to act through diocesan Caritas offices to assist people living in dire poverty.
According to the latest report issued by Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), the country has at least 13.5 million poor people, 31.4 percent of the 43 million population. On September 12, 2018, Buenos Aires was paralyzed by demonstrations with thousands in the streets calling on government to stop the rising prices for basic necessities.
Regarding the G20 meeting November 30 and December 1 in Buenos Aires a local source told Fides: “People are not interested in the G20 meeting they just want to be able to put food on the table today and tomorrow”. the paradox is that precisely here the G20, will give centre stage to Latin America and emphasise the need to “take the opportunity of the economic potential of Latin America and the Caribbean to advance towards the elimination of poverty”.

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