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Poverty, inequality in Latin America at unthinkable levels, pope says


  • A woman begs for money in Guatemala City in this 2011 file photo. (CNS photo/Saul Martinez)
  • A man rides a bike in the impoverished City of God neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 24, 2016. (CNS photo/Michael Reynolds, EPA)
  • An indigenous Embera woman cooks food in Quibdo, Colombia, March 18. (CNS photo/Leonardo Munoz, EPA)
  • A girl eats a bowl of beans in Guatemala City in this 2007 file photo. (CNS photo/Ulises Rodriguez, EPA)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Latin America's traditional social values of cooperation and solidarity must prevail over the societal ills that threaten the livelihood of the region's inhabitants, Pope Francis said.

The current social and economic crisis facing Latin American countries has allowed for the "growth of poverty, unemployment, social inequality" and a situation in which the planet, "our common home, is exploited and abused," the pope said June 30.

"This is at a level that we never would have imagined 10 years ago. In the face of this situation, an analysis is needed that takes into account the reality of concrete people, the reality of our people," he told members of the Italian-Latin American International Organization.

Founded in 1966, the international organization seeks to increase "economic, social, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation" between Latin American countries and Italy, according to the group's website.

Its 21 member states are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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