A bishop had denied point-blank any involvement of Pope Francis in Argentine politics, following on August 11 presidential primaries, which have quashed President Mauricio Macri's reelection aspirations, increasing opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez chances of taking office next 10 December, while Latin America's third economy was driven into financial chaos as the word default creeps intensely as a possibility in the near future.
Rosario bishop Sergio Buenanueva, and very close to Francis said that ”the idea of the (Argentine born) Pope's involvement in Argentine politics was mere science fiction.
On Sunday 11 August the presidential ticket of Alberto Fernandez-Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner managed a fifteen point difference over conservative president Macri ticket, and the although the result was expected, the margin wasn’t, triggering a historic stock market and currency crash while casting doubt over the possible reelection of incumbent Macri. Plus creating a political vaccum in real terms, since the two round elections takes place at the end of October and November.
And on Friday, the Financial Times published an article penned by the paper’s former Buenos Aires correspondent claiming that Pope Francis was the brains behind the Fernandez-Fernandez formula, after urging Alberto to reconcile with Cristina. The two had been enemies since the beginning of her first term as president more than a decade ago.
The report caused shockwaves in the incredibly divided Argentine society, enraging many middle-class Catholic voters, most of whom support Macri.
Despite several attempts by the bishops’ conference and a group of priests known as the “slum priests” to keep the pontiff above the fray, the media continues to align the pontiff with Cristina Kirchner, mostly fueled by unnamed sources close to the former president and the fact she travelled several times to the Vatican to seek political advice when Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio became bishop of Rome.
It is also known that Francis is a non believer in the so called neo-liberal hands off” approach to economics, and rather supports strong government intervention.
Bishop Buenanueva (ironically 'good news' in Spanish), who spoke with Francis, the allegation that it was the pontiff who told Alberto Fernandez early last year to reconcile with his former boss is all “science fiction.”
“I imagine that what the pope told Fernandez is what he tells every Argentinean who passes through Rome: Work in favor of dialogue, encounter, unity; to overcome hatreds,” Bishop Buenanueva wrote on Twitter.
“He also told us bishops that. The [report] of the Financial Times belongs to science fiction,” he said.
The Financial Times piece said that the defining moment in the four-decade career of the man who many expect to be Argentina’s next president came in early 2018, when he had a private meeting with Pope Francis.
“Francis encouraged Alberto’s reconciliation with Cristina,” said a close adviser to Alberto Fernández, who had fallen out with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the firebrand former president, a decade earlier while cabinet chief.
Alberto Fernández’s meeting with the Pope was a key step in unifying the crisis-stricken Peronist opposition after its humiliating defeat in midterms in late 2017, and may have helped pave the road for its return to power.
In effect the alliance of the moderate Fernández with his popular but more radical namesake, who unexpectedly ran as his vice-president, easily defeated the market-friendly President Mauricio Macri in primary, points out the FT.