Argentinean Prelates Urge Dialogue to End Strike

BUENOS AIRES, MAY 19, 2008 ( The bishops of Argentina are urgently asking for an agreement between striking farmers and the government.

The conflict began two months ago over an increase in export taxes on grain. The country’s agriculture sector rallied to demand concessions from the government. President Cristina Fernández did not initially budge, and the crisis has continued. Agricultural workers have established roadblocks around the country.

In a statement from the Argentinean episcopal conference, the prelates called for dialogue. “Experience has shown us that a society doesn’t necessarily develop when its economy does, but when above all it matures in its capacity to dialogue and its skill in coming to consensuses that become state policies, which guide toward a common project as a nation. This continues being a difficult challenge for our democracy.”

The prelates said it is “necessary and urgent for the government and the groups representing agriculture come to an agreement.”

“All Argentineans need this,” they added, “but particularly the poor, who are those who most suffer the consequences of this situation.”

The bishops invited the people to ask the Lord to “enlighten the protagonists involved in this so that they arrive to a just and peaceful agreement.”