How do civilians contact the mafia

"Pope does not have to fear the revenge of the Mafia in Mexico"

Before the papal trip, the expert calls for open criticism from the head of the church of drug cartels

Pope Benedict XVI should, according to Latin America experts, sharply criticize the drug mafia and the corruption in the country during his visit to Mexico at the end of the week. Mexican bishops and priests are also indirectly involved in the drug cartels' business, writes historian Prof. Dr. Silke Hensel in an article for the website www.religion-und-politik.de of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster. They accepted mafia money for church building and were thus involved in money laundering. "Often the pastors have no choice but to accept the money, otherwise they are threatened with the revenge of the Mafia."

The contribution

Pope Benedict XVI travels to Mexico at the end of March. He comes to a country full of problems. Two themes dominate the debate: the ongoing war between the military and police against the drug cartels and the presidential election campaign. Both topics are closely interwoven. The conflict has escalated since President Felipe Calderón took office in 2006 and declared the fight against the drug mafia the most important political goal of his term in office. More than 50,000 people died, including many civilians. Not only the drug mafia is responsible. The police and the military have also massively violated human rights. If a new president is elected in July, Calderón's party, the Catholic, conservative “Partido de Acción Nacional” (PAN) must expect a defeat. The return of the “Party of Institutionalized Revolution” (PRI) to power cannot be ruled out.

What message will the Pope convey with his visit? It is to be feared that he will continue on his conservative path and join the bishops of Mexico, the overwhelming majority of whom support those in power - the Pope's trip should thus become an election campaign tour for the PAN.

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