AMERICA/ARGENTINA - The deepening wounds of drug trafficking and the chronic lack of responses

Friday, 17 March 2023 drugs   drug trade   corruption   local churches

Buenos Aires (Agenzia Fides) - A new alarm for the worsening of drug trafficking with all its harmful consequences has been launched by the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral Care of the Argentine Bishops' Conference, under the title "The Wounds of Drug Trafficking".
The text recalls the words of the Bishops when they highlighted the drama of drug trafficking many years ago, and "the suffering faces of those who are trapped and condemned by one of the greatest calamities of recent times, such as drug use and addictions". According to the Bishops, the drug business had now established itself throughout the country, with a strong penetration especially in the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of large cities, destroying families and sowing death. "Everything related to drugs is dehumanizing, cancels the gift of freedom, submerges life projects with failure and subjects families to harsh trials" (see Fides, 13/11/2007).
"In these times we are witnessing a phenomenon that painfully aggravates this problem," underlines the note of the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral Care just published, citing "what would appear to be an escalation of never-ending violence with unusual frequency in the city of Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe" (see Fides, 10/3/2023).
According to information gathered by Fides, a bloody struggle for control of the drug market is taking place in Rosario, with drug traffickers on one side and some members of the police, politics and judiciary on the other. In 2022, 288 murders were recorded.
What is often heard is regaining strength, the note continues: "this out-of-control situation was achieved with the complicity and corruption of some leaders. Society often suspects that members of the security forces, justice officials and politicians, collaborate with mafia groups. This reality weakens trust and discourages expectations for change. But it is also complicit for those who, being able to do something, ignore this, wash their hands of it and look the other way".
The Episcopal Commission expresses solidarity and closeness to the archdiocesan team of Social Pastoral of Rosario, according to which the city lives in a situation of injustice that cries out to heaven, due to the lack of answers from the different levels of the State represented by legally appointed magistrates and officials in democracy. Furthermore, the link between these organized criminal gangs and smuggling structures, money laundering and tax evasion mechanisms is noted.
"We know that there are many men and women willing to accompany the initiatives of the government, legislators and judges, to give a strong response to the national drama of drug trafficking," the note concludes. "In addition, it must be considered that these criminal organizations are also often engaged in human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation and arms trafficking.
Recalling that this year marks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the image of the Virgin of the Rosary in the chapel built at the origins of the city, and which gave it its name, the Episcopal Commission asks for the intercession of the Virgin so that she may inspire all citizens, but especially the political, economic and social leadership, to create the essential consensus that should be the basis of "lucid, determined and courageous public policies that must be implemented by magistrates and officials". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 17/3/2023)