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The Pope and the president of Argentina meet for only 22 minutes

2016-02-29

The greeting broke three months of suspicions

Since Mauricio Macri was elected president of Argentina in the past November election, he has barely exchanged a word with Pope Francis. This is unlike his predecessor, who never lost an opportunity to be seen with the Pope.

Pope Francis' first encounter with the new Argentine president lasted only 22 minutes and showed the normalization of relations, which until now, were slightly exuberant. They talked about drug trafficking, poverty and, above all, social reconciliation in the country.

Pope Francis had a cold and serious expression. He made one casual and friendly comment to Mauricio Macri's wife, Juliana Awada. When he reminded them of the absence of a small but important part of the family: her daughter.

"You're missing something in your arms."
"Antonia."

In 2013, the Macri's went to visit the Vatican with their daughter in their arms. Argentina's first lady accompanied her husband with a simple black dress, modest and without embroidery.

Mauricio Macri gave Francis a poncho, several Argentinian music CD's, and a cross of Matara, symbolizing the evangelization of Argentina and their close ties to the Jesuits.

Mauricio Macri won the elections last November in Argentina in the second round, after 12 years of  the "kirchneristas” government. He faces the challenge of unifying a socially divided country, ending corruption and drug trafficking, and attracting foreign trade.

It is not the first time he met with the Pope, as they both coincided in Buenos Aires when the politician was head of city government and Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop. In the past, the two have differed on issues such as gay marriage or abortion.


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