Pope urges Mexican president to take action on corruption

Pope Francis urges Mexico president and bishops to tackle corruption, violence and drug trafficking

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Pope Francis waves to the crowd on his way to celebrate mass at the Basilica of Our lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Pope Francis on Sunday during his first visit to Mexico called on President Enrique Pena Nieto and his government to fight against endemic corruption.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, his wife and his finance minister have all been involved in a corruption scandal.

Pope Francis also urged Mexico’s bishops to be more active against the drug trade, which he said "devours like a metastasis."  

The pope told them to tell drug dealers that they could not consider themselves good Catholics if their hands were "drenched in blood, but pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened."

"Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privilege or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, the drug trade, the exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death," the pope said in a speech to Pena Nieto, the government and foreign diplomats.

He said Mexico's leaders have a "particular duty" to tackle corruption and violence and work for the collective good.

"Brothers, may your hearts be capable of following these men and women and reaching them beyond the borders," he said, calling on Mexico's Church to strengthen its ties to the US episcopate.

"This country needs his blessing. Were really struggling with corrupt politicians, unemployment and drug gangs, and everyone knows it," said Juanita Lopez, a 58-year-old maid, as she walked to the Zocalo, the capital's main square, clutching rosary beads.  

While he is in Mexico, the pope will visit indigenous communities in the country’s poorest state, Chiapas, and address young people in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan State that has been hit by violence between drug gangs and armed vigilante groups. He is also expected to visit a prison in Juarez.

Just days before the pope’s arrival, 49 people were killed in a fight between rival gangs in a prison. 

More than 100,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the last decades with some 26,000 missing, as drug traffickers have infiltrated police forces across the Mexico.

TRTWorld, Reuters