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Argentina | Gangs Pope Francis urges Rosario residents to create community against thugs

  • March 26, 2024
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In a video message addressed this Tuesday to the residents of Rosario, the Pope invoked the verse “Blessed are the peacemakers” taken from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5:9), one of the eight beatitudes, as a spiritual guide.

Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city, located in the country’s central Santa Fe province, is plagued by conflicts between rival gangs fueled by drug trafficking. Despite its role as a grain export port, the city is also known for drug trafficking from neighboring countries such as Brazil or Paraguay, earning it the title of the most dangerous city in Argentina, with a homicide rate of 22 per 100,000 inhabitants, five times the national average (4.2).

Faced with this situation, the Argentine government has taken strict security measures, in particular by strengthening the police force. In his video message of approximately seven minutes, the Pope expressed his understanding of this necessity while calling for strengthening the community fabric: “We know that the path to peace requires complex and integral responses, involving the collaboration of all institutions making up society. »

Violence is plaguing the entire city of Rosario. On the night of Monday March 25 to Tuesday March 26, four attacks by drug traffickers against the security forces forced the authorities to suspend the urban transport service. Additionally, the family of 2022 world champion footballer Angel Di Maria received death threats from one of the gang leaders.

The Pope criticizes the silence of the State, accusing part of the political, judicial, economic, financial and police power of complicity, and calls for a reassessment of politics as a valuable form of charity aimed at the common good.

Regarding drugs, the Pope denounces the silence of the State which, according to him, favors the trivialization of drug consumption and marketing. He affirms that the democratic system must protect magistrates to ensure their independence in their investigations into corruption and money laundering networks linked to drug trafficking.

After discussing the responsibility of the State, the Pope turns to the private sector, emphasizing that there is no bad economy without the complicity of part of the private sector. It encourages entrepreneurs to refuse to collaborate with mafias and to become socially engaged.

Furthermore, the Pope invites Argentine entrepreneurs to follow the example of Venerable Enrique Shaw, a business leader who dedicated his life to others by applying the social doctrine of the Church in his workplace and by committing himself in many associations.

The Pope also urges Rosario’s institutions to unite to create a united community, and praises the richness of the city’s social, civil and religious institutions.

Finally, he asks the local Church to continue to accompany the most vulnerable, ensuring that the parish is a place where everyone can feel loved and where love and charity are the most explicit manifestations of the Gospel in a society threatened.

The Pope’s message ends with a prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary for the city of Rosario.

source: Vatican News