From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Argentinean Churches Ask for Help with Oppressive Foreign Debt

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Fri, 21 Dec 2001 17:07:10 -0600

LWF Demonstrates Solidarity and Willingness to Accompany

GENEVA, 21 December 2001 (LWI) - In a letter to the presidents of the
Argentinean member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF),
LWF Deputy General Ms. Agneta Ucko, has expressed concern about the
current crisis in the Latin American country and demonstrated the
Federation's solidarity and its willingness to accompany churches

Ucko was reacting to a letter by Protestant churches in Argentina
sent to their sister churches and partner organizations in the North
calling "for continued effort toward global commercial and economic
relations based on justice.

Furthermore, the Argentinean churches asked for help to "lighten the
burden of foreign debt, which brings misery and death to millions of
people." They also called for "self-restriction," which "would
benefit the needy population in the South." The December 20 letter
was signed by representatives of LWF member churches - the
Evangelical Church of the River Plate and United Evangelical Lutheran
Church, and the Methodist, Reformed, Anglican and Waldensian churches
in Argentina.

In a message to the Argentinean society, the churches, "as a matter
of principle" had also called for any "possible solution to the
crisis by democratic means" urging refrain from violent acts "that
would only burden our future further." Addressing their country's
political and economic decision makers they pointed out "we have the
duty to respect the life of our people. Enough paying attention only
to respecting foreign debt and its interest! Pay attention to the
desperate cry of the people instead of the noise of the market!"

In her letter to the churches, the LWF Deputy General Secretary
expresses hope that the "calm but clear and prophetic voice of the
church would be an important contribution to the search not only for
new models of governance in the country, but also for fellowship in
the international communion." 

As Christmas draws near, there is a new opportunity "to look to the
weak and to life absolute." Life needs protection and care. Ucko
emphasized in her letter that the LWF respects the will of the
Argentinean civil society including the churches, "to recognize the
symptoms of our times" and to seek new models and ways out of the

Argentina's economic and political situation has been deteriorating
during the past few years. The government's drastic economic measures
to pay an estimated USD 1.3 billion a month toward servicing foreign
debt and its interest have led to a continuous deterioration of the
social climate. The fact that the government has had to postpone
pension payments for two weeks to use these funds for monthly debt
service is one of the causes for the flaring up of the social
conflict, which has already cost 16 lives and caused more than 1,000

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 133
member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5 million of the
64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its
member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical
relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights,
communication, and the various aspects of mission and development
work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material
presented does not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of
its various units. Where the dateline of an article contains the
notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with

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