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Montevideo, December 3rd 2022 - 20:16 UTC



Scathing criticism from the Pope and Church to the Argentine political system: “President little time left”

Monday, September 20th 2021 - 08:59 UTC
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Archbishop of La Plata, Victor Manuel Fernandez with the Pope   Archbishop of La Plata, Victor Manuel Fernandez with the Pope

Argentine president Alberto Fernandez and the political and power struggle that emerged from Sunday, September 12 primary elections cataclysm received scathing criticisms from the Pope and the Catholic Church.

On Sunday 12 September the Argentine electorate went to the polling stations to confirm candidates for the midterm election on 14 November, and in a surprising result not even anticipated by the most trusted public opinion polls, or the arrogant incumbent Kirchnerites, it was a landslide victory for the opposition in 17 out of 24 provinces. If this synopsis repeats itself in November, it could be a major disaster and the Kirchnerites could even lose control of the Senate.

In coincidence with the election results and the week-long struggle as to which are the next steps to be taken by the government, particularly with vice president Cristina Kirchner reminding Alberto Fernandez that she has the votes and selected him to be president, while the dissident Alverso insisted he was president and would make the decisions, there were shattering statements from two Archbishops, one of them considered the Pope's spokesperson, Victor Manuel Fernandez, and the second from the president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, Oscar Vicente Ojeda.

In a letter published in La Nacion, with the heading “President, there's little time left”, Archbishop Fernandez points out that faced with the wounded Motherland, “many of us expect the president can make a review of his agenda of priorities to avoid a debacle which would hurt even more our people”.

“We have seen you amused with abortion, marihuana and even euthanasia while the poor and the middle class were going through deep distress with no reply. In recent months we have also seen a strong advance of the ”non-binary“ language which to the great majority of the people is of no interest. We are in Latin America and the midst of a pandemic when circumstances demand the attention of other more pressing issues. At the end of last year while neighbouring countries were buying vaccines, in Argentina the Ministry of Public Health was passionate about an abortion campaign. We must admit it was not the right moment or the most pressing of issues.

”The women whom the government believed was serving, actually had their families in tatters, their children were out of school, some into drugs, some delinquency, while the value of money dropped daily.

“The social agenda was blurred and a great opportunity was dilapidated. We should not be surprised by the strong abstention of voters who do not feel represented by other political options but who were too angry to go and vote. It is more than eloquent that in some poor neighbourhoods abstention reached 40% since a campaign with few real proposals and too many slogans did not enthusiasm

”The president still has time to give priority to the main social problems, and better address production, and work, which are what can be listed as the real claims if you are next to the people. You should remember that in the previous election Mauricio Macri was able to recover many of the points lost in the primary. He managed this not with intelligent proposals, but by an enormous effort of getting closer to the people and at least listen to their real claims.

“From a strategist you expect the capacity to read in the historic current moment, the real and main claims from the people, leaving aside own tastes. But sometimes politics can confuse when believing that talking about certain issues is in reply to expectations from society, and in reality, you are only pleasing minority groups close to power. That is not the Argentine people, and votes seem to have shown it. Nevertheless, some members of the government seem to think that the solution is to further radicalize, without taking notice that this only takes you closer to the abyss.

”Who wouldn't forgive the president his missteps with his little parties at the Olivos residence if they had felt him closer to their real problems? The fact is that those who did the same as he was doing were “imbeciles” when in reality they were only asking for a respectful debate on abortion while those who thought differently were called “hypocrites”. That was not the image many had when they voted for him. The majority voted him exactly for the opposite and people are sometimes too sensitive to certain things.

“But our people are generous and capable of giving another opportunity to those who can back step and retake the course, Hopefully, this is what will happen, so that we can rebuild an economy that for years has been damaged and we start to solve the difficulties of the great suffering majorities. There are already too many people tired of waiting, concluded the archbishop from La Plata”.

The San Isidro bishop and president of the Episcopal Conference Oscar Vicente Ojeda were not so direct, more ecclesiastic, but warned that the political establishment of the country was “discussing power, not a Nation project”.

Ojeda draws parallelism with the situation when Jesus was to be crucified and told his apostles, who then begin to ask among themselves, who was to be the greatest of the Kingdom. “They started to discuss power”

“They believed Jesus the messiah was going to give up power, temporal power, and the vanity of each of them surfaced: who is going to be number one, some feel they are better and deserve better than others, that which is so human”

And in Argentina, “we are also discussing power, we are not discussing a project for the Nation, we are not discussing where we are going, we are not thinking where we must head, nor can we agree to think together, we simply discuss power, media power, economic power, political power”.

Finally, as the apostles discussed who would be number one, Jesus bleeding in the cross was trying to communicate with them so they could understand him. So many times we, and in Argentina, fall into the trap of power discussions, without daring to think together where are we heading”.

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