Latin America & Caribbean

Pope tells young Mexicans to 'dare to dream'

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Media captionPope Francis was almost pulled over while greeting crowds in Morelia

Pope Francis has urged young Mexicans to reject a life of crime and "dare to dream" as he visited Michoacan - a state hit hard by drug violence.

He told the crowd in a packed football stadium in the city of Morelia that they were "the wealth of this land".

Michoacan has seen some of the worst violence in Mexico's drug war, which has left more than 100,000 people dead or missing in the past 10 years.

On Wednesday, the Pope will hold a mass in Ciudad Juarez on the US border.

Francis is expected to speak about the plight of migrants and will also visit a prison in the northern city, as he concludes his five-day visit to Mexico.

Tens of thousands of people will be travelling to Ciudad Juarez from El Paso, Texas, to listen to the pontiff's speech.

Mexicans hope papal visit brings change

Pope's warning

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Image caption Young Mexicans were ecstatic as the pontiff appeared in Morelia's stadium

"Don't lose the charm of dreaming. Dare to dream," Pope Francis told the crowd in Morelia on Tuesday.

"I understand that often it is difficult to feel your value when you are continually exposed to the loss of friends or relatives at the hands of the drug trade, of drugs themselves, of criminal organisations that sow terror.

"It is a lie to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death.

"Jesus would never ask us to be assassins; rather, he calls us to be disciples," the pontiff said.

He earlier told members of the local clergy not to give up in the face of violence and corruption.

"Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favourite weapons: resignation," Francis warned.

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