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PERU | Pope Francis in Peru: Reality Exceeded Expectations

Lima, Jan 22 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis'' visit to Peru from January 18 to 21 exceeded the most optimistic predictions in terms of people''s participation, organization and the way in which the Holy Father dealt with the national situation. Thousands of people gathered since the first day to welcome the Bishop of Rome, who arrived at the Number 8 Aerodrome of the Peruvian Air Force, in Callao, on January 18, and stayed at the Apostolic Nunciature during his stay in Lima. The Holy Pontiff's visit took place amid a difficult situation marked by a national debate on the recent pardon granted to former President Alberto Fujimori and the accusations of corruption against President Pedro Pablo Kucsynski, in addition to denunciations of sexual abuses by the local clergy. A key moment during Pope Francis' visit was his stay in Puerto Maldonado on January 19, when he spoke to thousands of members of indigenous communities that have been neglected by national authorities and are severely affected by illegal mining and violations of environmental laws. Pope Francis criticized the destructive activity by large corporations in the region and charged that the Amazonian indigenous people have never been so threatened on their territories as they are now. He also referred to neo-extractivism or illegal mining, the indiscriminate felling of forests, the strong pressure being exerted by big economic interests in oil, gas, timber, gold and agri-industrial monocultures. He emphasized other aspects that are often forgotten by local media and authorities: human trafficking, slave labor force or sexual abuse in these regions that are far away from the rest of the country. On January 19, Pope Francis was welcomed at the government palace by President Pedro Pablo Kucsynski, who recalled that Pope John Paul II had visited the country at a time when Peruvians were going through a complex situation, due to the boom of terrorism and inflation. However, the most important event during the Pope's visit took place in the afternoon of January 21: a mass at the air base of Las Palmas, in southern Lima, which was attended by more than one million believers. That day, the Pope met with bishops at Lima's Cathedral, where he spoke again about to Peru's internal situation and assured that corruption has sickened politics in Latin America, after referring to the cases of former Peruvian Presidents Ollanta Humala and Alberto Fujimori, who went to prison. Experts who followed on to the Holy Pontiff's visit to Peru closely said that it was a success and had a broad social impact, although that opinion is not unanimous. Sources close to the Archbishopric of Lima told Prensa Latina that Pope Francis' visit was a success, from both the organizational viewpoint and the people's response during mass. They also acknowledged that his stay here will have little impact on the national political life, least of all on the daily situation being faced by thousands of Peruvians who are striving to survive and whose incomes are under the poverty rate.
Last modified onMonday, 22 January 2018 15:38
  • Countries: Latin America

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