NORTHRIDGE ( —  The Southland Argentinian community is proud that newly elected Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope, has put a spotlight on their country.

The pontiff, formerly known as Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, was selected by at least 77 cardinals to succeed Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday.

Susan Mazzei, a patron at Buenos Aires Grill in Northridge, said the pope will unite a struggling nation.

“New hope, new things happening, so I think it’s going to be a great thing,” she said.

Federico Rabe, who moved to the U.S. from Argentina more than 20 years ago, said he thinks Pope Francis will point his former country in the right direction.

“The economy, a lot of corruption, the Argentines are divided between people with the government and people who are anti-government. I think this is going to bring people more united, I hope,” he said.

Dario Sedani, the manager of Lala’s Argentine Grill in Studio City, believes the pontiff will continue to lead the nearly 33 million Catholics in Argentina.

“He’s going to bring more peace to Argentina because there’s a lot of violence on the streets,” he said.


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