Pope: Rosario violence impossible without political complicity

The pontiff also called for an ‘independent’ judiciary capable of investigating the corruption behind the drug trade

Pope Francis said that political complicity has played a role in the recent spike in violence in Rosario, where criminal gangs tied to the drug trade have murdered multiple people in recent weeks. He also called for an independent judiciary capable of investigating corruption that enables drug trafficking. 

“The situation in Rosario would not be possible without the complicity of political, economic, and judicial sectors,” the pope said in a recorded message that aired on the Vatican’s YouTube channel, adding that politics must act as a tool to strive for the common good. 

Regarding the drug problem, he said that it needs to be tackled not only by targeting traffickers but also by implementing prevention policies to avoid harm to users. “The silence of the state regarding this issue only facilitates drug use,” he said.

In early March, four people with no apparent ties to organized crime were murdered in crimes that have been linked to drug trafficking gangs. The killings came after authorities released photos of prisoners being forced to sit topless on the floor, tightly packed one behind the other, during a raid. 

Last week, Defense Minister Luis Petri launched a military operation to provide support to the national and provincial security forces in the city. This came after Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that local authorities would ask the judiciary to use an anti-terrorism law against gang members.

Pope Francis also called on the state and public institutions to offer assistance in low-income areas. Organized crime treats the poor as “disposable,” he said. He added that Rosario has many institutions that can help in this regard, and asked the city’s population to get involved.

“Fear always paralyzes people,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to commit and be part of a peaceful and inspirational solution.”


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