Amid an ongoing smuggling scandal involving administrators at River Plate Adventist University (Universidad Adventista del Plata) in Entre Rios Argentina, University President Oscar Ramos has resigned his position, Spectrum has learned. In a meeting of the Argentina Union Conference's leadership on Sunday, October 9, the news of Ramos' resignation was announced. Current Vice President for Academic Affairs Gabriel Schultz has been named acting president, and a committee has been established to select a new president.
On September 22 news broke in Argentine media that Argentina's Policia Federal carried out raids on eight locations and apprehended six leaders of the Adventist Church involved in allegedly smuggling some $15,000,000 Argentine Pesos ($991,000 USD) worth of electronic goods into the country, disguised as a shipment of medical supplies from the United States. Customs officials discovered a wide array of purportedly undeclared electronics worth some $6,000,000 Pesos ($396,400 USD) in unpaid import fees.
Argentina charges steep import fees that have led many to attempt to circumvent official channels in bringing goods into the country. The Argentine government has sharply cracked down on illegal imports.
We now know that only one Adventist leader, Jorge De Sousa Matías, Vice President for International Development at River Plate, was detained by police. Other leaders were given citations, requiring that they make depositions before Argentina's judiciary. Those leaders' names have still not been confirmed.
The Argentina Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (la Asociación Argentina de los Adventistas del Séptimo Día), to which the shipment was addressed, issued two statements indicating that the Adventist Church was cooperating fully with authorities and had the proper documentation for the shipment received.
The resignation of the university president indicates that all is not well for the church in Argentina, despite insistence that the church has done no wrong.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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