Cardinal warns of lack of respect for democracy in Latin America

The President of the Latin American Bishops Conference, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, said this week during a symposium on “Authority” in Buenos Aires that there is little adherence to democracy in the region.

The Archbishop of Santiago said the Church in Latin America is concerned about the growth of “populist” movements and about potential dictatorships in the region.

“People have not gone back to autocratic governments because of the traumatic memories that still exist, but adherence to democracy on the continent is very low,” said the Cardinal, adding that 52% of the continent’s inhabitants would accept an autocratic government if it was able to provide greater well-being.”

“The problem here,” he said, “is the definition of ‘well-being.’  Here most people think of it only in economic terms.  A consumerist society thinks of well-being in that way.”

Likewise, the Cardinal lamented that “leaders of society do not reflect upon the reasons for their lack of credibility” and they fail to understand that “there is a crisis in the political institutions and that the credibility of politicians and political parties is extremely low” in Latin America.

“When we want to bring somebody out of poverty, we have to be concerned about the whole family,” said Cardinal Errazuriz, saying the response to the lack of political stability and the economic crisis should begin with programs that benefit the family.

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