The Pope Francis urged Sunday in his Easter message to establish a “comprehensive and immediate cease-fire” to address the pandemic of the new coronavirus and urged to reduce or cancel the debt of the poorest countries.
In a world “overwhelmed by the pandemic, which is putting our great human family to severe test,” the pope asked for “the contagion of hope,” in a message delivered in St. Peter’s Basilica, completely empty.
The pope proposed that “the international sanctions of the affected countries” be relaxed “and that the great needs of the moment be addressed by all the countries, reducing, or even forgiving, the debt that weighs on the budgets of the poorest “
For example, the United States refuses to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Iran, a country badly affected by the pandemic.
Pope Francis also called for an “immediate and global ceasefire in all corners of the world.”
“This is not the time to continue making and selling weapons, spending large sums of money that could be used to care for people and save lives,” he said in this message to the 1.3 billion Catholics and broadcast live.
The pope spoke among others of Yemen and Syria but also of Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the one in the eastern Ukraine or “the terrorist attacks perpetrated against so many innocent people” in Africa, as well as the drama of the migrants and the humanitarian situation in northern Mozambique.
He also called for a “practical and immediate” solution for international aid to reach Venezuelans.
Francis sent a specific message to Europe, to re-emerge “thanks to a true spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome past rivalries,” particularly after World War II.
Faced with the global pandemic that is hitting countries like Italy, Spain and France hard, the pope called for “innovative solutions” as well as leaving behind “selfishness”.
Despite an agreement for a half-trillion-euro rescue fund, the European Union is divided on how to deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic.
“May these weaker brothers and sisters, who live in the cities and peripheries of every corner of the world, not feel alone,” said the pontiff.
He especially mentioned “the elderly and people who are alone,” as well as doctors, patients, the military, and everyone who works in health centers or is in barracks and prisons.
“For many it is an Easter of solitude, lived in the midst of the many mourning and difficulties that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic problems,” he stressed.
SOLUTION FOR VENEZUELA
Pope Francis called for a “practical and immediate” solution so that international aid reaches Venezuelans who suffer due to the political, economic, social and health context.
“This is not a time for forgetting. That the crisis we are facing does not make us put aside so many other emergency situations that carry with them the suffering of many people,” Francisco asked.
“That the lord of life (…) allows us to reach practical and immediate solutions in Venezuela, aimed at facilitating international aid to the population that suffers due to the serious political, socioeconomic and health situation,” he said.
Venezuela was the only Latin American country mentioned by Francisco in his message to the world this Easter Sunday, delivered in an empty Saint Peter’s Basilica due to the new coronavirus pandemic.