Pope Francis condemned on Monday a “weakening of democracy” in the Americas, citing the storming of government buildings in Brazil, in his yearly New Year’s address to ambassadors. “In many areas, a sign of the weakening of democracy is heightened political and social polarisation, which does not help to resolve the urgent problems of citizens,” said Francis during his speech at the Vatican. The Argentine pontiff cited “various countries of the Americas where political crises are laden with tensions and forms of violence that exacerbate social conflicts”. “I am thinking of these last few hours in Brazil,” he said, in a line that was not included in the pre-released text. He also cited Peru, where nationwide protests have killed at least 22 people, and a “worrying situation” in Haiti, where gang violence is ravaging the poverty-stricken country. On Sunday in Brasilia, supporters of Brazil’s far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro stormed the seat of power, in scenes reminiscent of the January 6, 2021, invasion of the US Capitol building by supporters of then-president Donald Trump.