LIMA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Pope Francis wrapped up his trip to
Chile and Peru on Sunday by warning that Latin America was in a
deep crisis from corruption, with politics in most countries
"more sick than well."
Speaking in improvised remarks to bishops, he mentioned the
scandal involving construction company Odebrecht, which has
admitted to paying billions in bribes, as an example of greed
run amok across the continent of his birth.
While sitting beside embattled Peruvian President Pedro
Pablo Kuczynski on Friday, the pope said all parts of society
needed to work to combat corruption.
On Sunday he spoke more broadly. "Politics is in crisis,
very much in crisis in Latin America," he said, while also
mentioning tax havens and drug trafficking.
In a rare turn of phrase for a pope, he named a specific
company. Francis said Brazil’s Odebrecht, which confessed in a
2016 plea deal to paying out billions in exchange for contracts
across 10 Latin American countries, was actually only a small
part of the problem.
In Peru alone, a former president has been detained for
allegedly receiving bribes from Odebrecht.
Kuczynski was nearly impeached in December for not revealing
that a company he used to run did business with Odebrecht. He
Days after surviving an impeachment vote in Congress,
Kuczynski pardoned former President Alberto Fujimori less than
halfway through his 25-year sentence for corruption and human
This was widely seen as a political deal struck with
Fujimori supporters in Congress to allow Kuczynski to stay in
Kuczynski, 79, cited medical reasons for granting Fujimori
the pardon and has said it was fundamentally about forgiveness.
He denies it was part of a backroom deal.
Revelations from the Odebrecht scandal have also roiled the
region's largest economy of Brazil for years, sending dozens of
high-profile executives and lawmakers to jail.
The pope has spoken on corruption on previous trips to Latin
America. In Paraguay in 2015 he said it was a "plague, a
gangrene of society" and has since expanded the illness
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