“Hands off Africa”: the Pope’s harsh speech at the start of a historic tour

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After receiving a massive and fervent welcome in the 25 kilometers that separate Kinshasa airport, aboard a popemobile, Pope Francis began his fifth apostolic journey to Africa speaking in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with very strong words which has illuminated the situation of the most neglected continent on the planet.

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After the meeting with the Congolese president Félix Tshisekedi, Francis launched an appeal destined to make the history of the African world: “Take your hands off Africa!”, “Stop suffocating it!”, he underlined in a speech before the maxims authorities, attacking the “economic colonialism” which draws fabulous profits from the exploitation of the continent.

“It is tragic that these places continue to suffer various forms of exploitation”, exclaimed the Argentine pontiff, applauded by those present.

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He complained that “after political colonialism, an economic colonialism unleashed just as slave.”

In front of the main authorities of the country and of the diplomatic world in the presidential palace, he mentioned the case of Congo, “an abundantly plundered country that is not able to benefit sufficiently from its immense fruits” and highlighted the paradox that the fruits of the earth itself “make them alien to its inhabitants”.

He blamed the “poison of greed” for the tragedy of the “blood diamonds”, referring to the mining of this precious stone, which enslaves the workers. Many die, including large numbers of children.

“It is a drama to which the most advanced economic world tends to turn a blind eye, ear and mouth. However this country and this continent deserve respect and listening, they deserve space and attention ”, she added.

“Africa is not a mine to be exploited or a land to be plundered”, continued Francis.

“May Africa be the protagonist of its own destiny. May the world remember the disasters committed over the centuries to the detriment of local populations and may it not forget this country and this continent”.

Jorge Bergoglio, who was in excellent physical shape on his first day of this African tour, declared that “the Democratic Republic of Congo, battered by war, continues to suffer conflicts and forced migration within its borders, continues to suffer terrible forms of exploitation unworthy of man and of creation”.

The Pope had had to postpone this trip, scheduled for last year, due to health problems that prevented him from moving. And this Tuesday was received by a crowd.

Civil war

“This immense country full of life, this diaphragm of Africa, struck by violence like a punch in the stomach, seemed breathless for a long time”, lamented the Pope.

The Argentine pontiff has addressed the issue of the resurgence of violence in recent months throughout the country which has forced him to do so suspend the visit to Gomathe largest city in eastern Congo, shaken by civil wars involving more than a hundred armed groups financed by neighboring countries.

In particular, the bloodiest military actions are carried out by the March 23 movement, which according to the Congolese is supported by neighboring Rwanda.

The Pope asked the Congolese “that violence and hatred have no place in anyone’s heart or mouth, because they are anti-human and anti-Christian sentiments that paralyze development and push us back towards a dark past”.

Francesco also asked avoid falling “into tribalism and opposition”. He invited not to “stubbornly take part for one’s ethnicity or for particular interests, fueling spirals of hatred and violence”.

He recalled the widespread evil of corruption and invited the political class to “act with transparency by exercising the position received as a means at the service of society” and to “encourage the holding of free, transparent and credible elections”.

slave children

In December there will be general elections and the Catholic Church is mobilizing as always to ensure that democratic will and free elections remain firm, thanks to its weight on the 45 million faithful in Rome, mobilized behind these objectives.

Finally, the Pope denounced that many Congolese children do not go to school “and instead of receiving a dignified education they are exploited”.

“Too many children die in forced labour in the mines That no efforts be spared to denounce the scourge of child labor and put an end to it”, he exhorted at the end of his speech destined to have a strong impact throughout Africa.

The Pope’s main meeting with the Congolese took place this Tuesday evening and into the early hours of Wednesday in Kinshasa, as thousands upon thousands of people continued to arrive at a local airport, where between one and two million people are expected on Wednesday gather in a mass convened by the pontiff.

The Pope will continue his activity in Congo until Friday, when he will travel to the second country of his trip, South Sudan. On Sunday he will return to Rome.

Vatican correspondent

B. C

Source: Clarin

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