ASIA/LEBANON - Lebanon in default. Maronite Patriarch: economic liberalism without justice will fail

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) – Economic liberalism “is at the core of Lebanese Constitution”, but that system can work and produce benefits only if its “social dimension aiming at preserving justice and human dignity” is not cancelled and forgotten. Not considering this aspect means “playing with Lebanon destiny” and endangering the survival of Lebanese national entity. This is what the Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï said during the homily of the mass celebrated last Monday, 9 March in the church of the Patriarchal seat in Bkerké, referring to the Lebanese financial default announced two days earlier by Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Saturday, 7 March, during a press conference, Lebanese Prime Minister announced the governmental decision about the suspension of the payment of the bonds issued in foreign currency amounting to 1.2 billion dollars, with expiry date on the 9th March 2020.
During his homily, Patriarch Raï reminded that the banking sector is an essential part of the Lebanese economic system, once flourishing, making reference also to the relevant role the Maronite Church had played in the past in supporting the development of the credit institutions, which were fundamental to promote the entrepreneurship and the economic development. The current head-tail of Lebanese financial system, pressed by an unbearable public debt, calls into question the responsibility of the national political leadership that, according to the Maronite Patriarch, has to “promptly face” the crisis’ deep causes and strike “those who have provoked the national currency collapse”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 10/3/2020).