Officials celebrate Pope Francis’ decade with no planned visit

With no confirmed schedule, the pope said he wants to visit Argentina — after the elections

President Alberto Fernández joined thousands of people early on Saturday to celebrate Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s 10th anniversary as Pope Francis in Luján, Argentina’s “Capital of Faith.”

He was joined by government officials Santiago Cafiero, Wado de Pedro, Victoria Tolosa Paz and Gabriel Katopodis. Nobel peace laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel was also there to celebrate the first Latin American pope in history. 

In a speech, Fernández said that Argentina needs to “end the conflict and restore peace” and “fight narcos and work for those with addiction.” 

“Francisco is the biggest moral and ethical leader that the world has,” he said, ahead of the celebrations.

The president signed a written commitment at the event named “Ni un pibe, ni una piba menos por la droga” calling for no more youth deaths due to drugs. 

A signatory of the document was Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She participated in the event by sending a video where she explained that “addiction is a drama and a social tragedy” and said that the government must “recover territory” in areas affected by drug trafficking violence, such as Rosario.

Delayed homecoming 

Pope Francis gave an interview to Infobae last week in which he said he expects to visit Argentina “after the elections,” but that it depends on many factors.

“First, there’s my will, which is present – secondly, the sociopolitical situation,” he said.

The Pope did not visit during his 2017 tour because delays in Chile due to the country’s elections would have meant coming to Argentina in January, a month when many businesses and institutions are closed for the summer break and many Argentines travel. 

“You can’t find anyone in January,” he said. 

Pope Francis did not provide any further information about dates for a potential visit.

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