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Latin American, Caribbean bishops express concern on drug trafficking

“Let’s not resign ourselves to drug trafficking!” This was a message from CELAM (Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano y Caribeno) – the Episcopal Conference of Latin America – on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, June 26.

Via a statement from the Presidency of the Council, they expressed their deepest concerns echoed by the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean about the reality they live in their countries.

It referred to a document in 2007 where the Council said highlighted “The drug problem is like an oil stain that invades everything. It recognizes no borders, neither geographical nor human. It attacks rich and poor countries alike, children, young people, adults and the elderly, men, and women. The Church cannot remain indifferent to this scourge that is destroying humanity, especially the new generations” (Aparecida Document, 422).

The statement said: “Drug trafficking has demonstrated in many countries in the region its ability to infiltrate and corrupt the branches of government, the police, the armed forces, the media, businesses, in short, all the institutions of democracy. It has been able to find complicities in the financial systems, evading controls, and audits, and even finding hiding places such as decentralised finance of cryptocurrencies.”

It noted that entire territories were used for its own production, and armies, gangs and violent systems were organised for the control of territories.

“Millions of young people have closed their lives in the consumption of substances, and entire families have been ruined. Drug trafficking is the dissolution of States, the replacement of the rule of law by the establishment of another law, that of the strongest. It is a sign of the collapse of Western civilisation; how can we not express our concern on this day?”

The root of the drug problem identified was a culture that neglected life because it was built on the pursuit of profit.

CELAM called for all not to naturalise the situation, nor allow fear but to recognise that the present and the future of society are at stake.

They encouraged the Church and the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean to continue organising to care for life. “We are convinced that all human life is sacred, and that caring for life is the alternative to the rule of money.”

Two years ago, CELAM launched the Latin American Pastoral Ministry of Accompaniment and Prevention of Addictions, “to put ourselves once again at the service of life, and to bring together all the spaces in the region that are organised to care for it.”