Chilean, Argentine Presidents Mark Peace Treaty With Pope
By Dialogo November 30, 2009The presidents of Chile and Argentina marked with Pope Benedict XVI the 25th anniversary of a peace treaty signed between the former dictators of their countries with papal mediation. The pope told Michelle Bachelet and Cristina Kirchner that the treaty, which averted a looming border war, showed that "perseverance is always needed ... to resolve differences by means of patient negotiations and necessary compromise." Benedict's predecessor John Paul II intervened as Argentine dictator Rafael Videla was threatening an invasion of disputed islands in the Beagle Channel, which his Chilean counterpart Augusto Pinochet vowed to resist. After mediation by Cardinal Antonio Samore, a treaty of peace and friendship was signed on November 24, 1984 in Rome, and John Paul II was hailed as the pope of peace when he visited the two countries in 1987. After the audience with Benedict, Bachelet and Kirchner laid a wreath at the late pope's tomb in Saint Peter's basilica.