Pope says corruption at root of Argentine crisis
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- Pope John Paul said on Tuesday political
corruption, egoism and poor management were to blame for Argentina's
economic and social crisis.
"Your country is experiencing a profound social and economic crisis...that
democratic stability and the foundations of public institutions at risk," he told
Argentine bishops visiting the Vatican.
"The concerns of the present moment should lead to a serious examination
conscience about...the tragic consequences of egoism, the corrupt conduct that
many have denounced and the poor management of the country's assets," he said.
Argentina, whose economy has not grown for more than four years, is struggling
with its worst ever crisis involving both financial chaos and violent street protests.
Many analysts say government leaders have mismanaged Latin America's third
biggest economy and Argentines have repeatedly complained of corruption.
"At the root of this painful situation there is a profound moral crisis,"
the Pope said.
"Corruption and impunity run the risk of becoming generalized."
The Pope, who has visited Argentina twice, urged the bishops to take part
dialogue to promote "honesty, austerity (and) responsibility for the common good."
After partially defaulting on its debt, Argentina was forced to float its
against the U.S. dollar this week for the first time in a decade, fueling anguish
among residents who worry about dollar debt and the return of hyperinflation.
The Pope said it was urgent for politicians, bankers and economists to
technical solutions to jump-start the economy but long-term answers had to be
found for the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
"It is important to remember that the social situation does not improve
applying technical measures, but also and above all, by promoting reforms with a
human and moral foundation," he said.
Copyright 2002 Reuters.