Argentine bishop denounces 'scandalous' inequality in Argentina

SALTA, Argentina (CNS) -- Argentine Bishop Fernando Bargallo of Moreno has denounced what he called the "scandalous" inequality that exists in Argentina.

Bishop Bargallo, head of the local Catholic aid agency Caritas Argentina, told Catholic News Service that although he recognizes the benefits economic growth has brought to Argentina he questioned whether it is fair that "5 percent of the country controls 25 percent of the wealth" while 25 percent "of the population lives below the poverty line."

Bishop Bargallo said in late June that the result of increasing inequality is the existence of two Argentinas: "one an affluent nation that wields economic power" and the other "a marginalized people who live on the outskirts of cities and in rural towns."

Jorge Colina, chief researcher at the Buenos Aires-based think tank IDESA, said the liberalization of the economy by lowering import taxes, cutting government spending and denationalizing industries in the 1980s and 1990s "left almost half the workforce behind."