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The Vatican nuncio that tried to save Che Guevara's brother

2016-11-29

The documents that the Vatican will make public about the dictatorship in Argentina will not only help to know the whereabouts of the victims of the regime: it will also shed light on the controversial role the Church played. 

LUIS BADILLA 
Vaticanologist
"The root of all this is the pope, it's Francis. He accepted the petition to organize, classify, and open these documents to the people who need them. People had asked for this in the past and it was never grant. Pope Francis accepted it because he is aware that, if Argentina wants to be truly in peace, the first thing it needs is the truth. Because only the truth and justice allow for reconciliation. There is no reconciliation without truth and justice.”

The Chilean vaticanologist, Luis Badilla, has studied one of the most controversial cases of the dictatorship: that of the pope's nuncio in Argentina during the military dictatorship, Pio Laghi. In the 90s, he was accused of  complying with the regime and of not doing everything that was in his hand to save people from being executed by the regime. 

Some of his files, however, reveal that the former nuncio tried to save at least 5,000 people. Amongst them, Che Guevara's brother. People who thought their friends or family had been taken by the regime asked him for help. He interceded for them before the government, demanding their freedom. He publicly criticized the military junta that ruled the country. In 1980 he was declared persona non grata and forced to leave Argentina. However, he did not only have problems with the authorities.

LUIS BADILLA
Vaticanologist
"Laghi had many problems with the Argentinian Church, which considered that the dictatorship was carrying out a necessary task. I think that will be com out of the documents very clearly. He realized that the only thing he could do was try to save as many people as he could."

Pio Laghi died in 2009. It is hard to know how many people he managed to save from the clutches of death. It is also clear that, around that time, many clergymen saved lives, and amongst them was Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis. 


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