Here is a translation of the Letter that the Holy Father Francis sent today to the Secretary-General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, Mrs. Rebecca Grynspan Mayufis, and to the participants in the 27th Ibero-American Summit in Andorra from April 20-21, 2021.
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The Holy Father’s Letter
To Her Excellency
Mrs. Rebecca Grynspan Mayufis
Secretary-General of the
Ibero-American General Secretariat
In greeting you cordially, Mrs. Secretary-General, I wish through the present letter to send my greeting to all the Heads of State and Government taking part in the 27th Ibero-American Summit, in a particularly difficult context, given the terrible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in all realms of daily life, which has exacted enormous sacrifices from every Nation and its citizens, and which appeals to the whole International Community to commit itself, united, with a spirit of responsibility and fraternity, to face many on-going challenges and those that will come.
In the first place, I wish to remember the millions of victims and sick. I pray for them and for the members of their families. The pandemic has made no distinctions and affected people of all cultures, creeds, and social and economic strata. We all know and have felt the loss of a close person who died from the coronavirus, or who suffered the effects of contagion. We are all conscious of how hard it has been for families not to be able to be close to friends or relatives, to offer them closeness and consolation at this time. We have all seen how the consequences of this tragic situation have impacted many children and young people and we follow with concern the effects it might have for their future. Worthy of praise is the work of doctors, nurses, health personnel, chaplains, and volunteers who in those difficult moments, in addition to caring for the sick, with the risk of their lives, have been for them the relative or friend they were missing.
While acknowledging the efforts made in the search for an effective vaccine against COVID-19in such a short time, I wish to reiterate that extensive immunization should be considered a “universal common good,” notion that requires concrete actions that inspire the whole process of research, production, and distribution of vaccines. Particularly welcome in this ambit are initiatives that seek to create new ways of solidarity at the international level, with mechanisms geared to guaranteeing an equitable distribution of vaccines, not based on purely economic criteria, but taking into account the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable and needy.
On different occasions, I have pointed out that we must come out of this pandemic “better,” as the present crisis is a propitious occasion to rethink the relationship between the person and the economy, which may help to overcome the short-circuit “of death that is present everywhere and at all times.”
Therefore, we must join efforts to create a new horizon of expectations, where the economic benefit is not the main objective, but the protection of human life. In this connection, it is urgent to consider a model of recovery capable of generating new more inclusive, and sustainable solutions, geared to the universal common good, fulfilling God’s promise to all men.
Particular consideration should be given to the need to reform the international “architecture” of debt, as an integral part of our common response to the pandemic, as the re-negotiation of the burden of debt of the most needy countries is a gesture that will help peoples to develop, to have access to vaccines, to health, to education, and to employment. Such a gesture should be accompanied by putting into practice of solid economic policies and good administration that reaches the poorest. I highlight the urgency to take measures that will make possible access to external financing, through the new emission of Special Drawing Rights, calling for greater solidarity between countries, which consents to funds being allocated to stimulate and encourage economic and productive development, with the aim of having all able to come out of the current situation with the best possibilities of recovery. None of this will be possible without an iron political will that has the courage to decide to change things, principally the priorities so that it is not the poor that pay the highest price of these dramas that are affecting our human family.
I wish the best success to the 27th Ibero-American Summit; I assure you of my prayers for the fruitfulness of the meeting, and I invoke upon all the participants and the peoples they represent, abundant divine blessings.