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For a new order
of peace and justice

· Pope Francis' message to the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama ·

11 April. Hope for “a new order of peace and justice” which promotes “the globalization of solidarity and fraternity” was expressed by Pope Francis in a message sent to the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, on the occasion of the seventh Summit of the Americas, which concluded on today.

In the message read during the inaugural session on Friday by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pontiff denounced “the inequity” and “the unjust distribution of wealth and resources”, highlighting the failure of the trickle-down theory of economics, according to which global economic advancement should create favourable returns even in emerging economies. In reality the gap between rich and poor has spread even further and many populations continue to live “prostrated in poverty”. Thus the Holy Father called for “direct actions in favour of the most disadvantaged”, beginning with the guarantee of those “basic necessities” — such as land, work, housing — from which no one “should be excluded”.

Within the context of the Summit an official meeting was expected between U.S. president, Barack Obama, and Cuba's head of state, Raúl Castro. The meeting is considered a fundamental step in the process toward normalization between Washington and Havana, which the two leaders began last 17 December. The two heads of state shook hands previously on Friday in the presence of UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela, as well as other government leaders and heads of state. The informal contact lasted only moments.

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