Argentina's religious leaders lunched with President Jorge Videla at government House in Buenos Aires on Wednesday (29 September).
Argentina's religious leaders lunched with President Jorge Videla at government House in Buenos Aires on Wednesday (29 September). One of their main topics for discussion was thought to be the increasing wave of violence in the country.
The violence is becoming more random, with victims ranging from apparently harmless political exiles to Roman Catholic priests.
The churchmen included Roman Catholic cardinals Raul Primatesta and Juan Carlos Aramburu; Church of England Bishop Stanley Cutts; Pastor Gabriel Beccaro of the Evangelists; the Grand Iman Sheikh Ahmad Abo-El-Ola-Jalil, the supreme Islamic priest of Argentine; and the grand rabbi Salomon Benhamu Anidar, representing Judaism. The same day the president was lunching with the churchmen, four guerrillas were killed and four soldiers injured during a two-hour gun battle in a densely populated Buenos Aires suburb. In a speech a few days before on the anniversary of the Battle of Tucuman, when Argentinean independence fighters defeated the Spanish 164 years ago, General Videla said the total annihilation of all guerrilla groups was one of the main objectives of his government.
Apart from the violence problem, the president and church leaders were to discuss other matters of "national importance" He was hoping their considerable influence could help stop Argentina's seemingly unstoppable assassinations and kidnappings.