Pope Francis not dancing to Cristina’s tune
In spite of the cartoon,
The Economist points out that
A discomfited government puts a brave face on the election of Pope Francis, while its propagandists use history as a political weapon
Cristina rushed to present the Pope with a nice mate set, like the ones you can buy at Ezeiza airport, and unwrapped it for him,
At The Economist (emphasis added),
The president’s trip to Rome looked like a swift exercise in damage limitation. Her initial letter of congratulation was stiff, in contrast to the enthusiasm expressed by other Latin American leaders. When news of his election broke, her supporters in Argentina’s Congress refused to interrupt a eulogy to Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez. While private television channels streamed uninterrupted footage from the Vatican, state-owned Channel 7 preferred a children’s cartoon.
One of Ms Fernández’s closest backers then raked up an accusation that Cardinal Bergoglio, when head of the Argentine branch of the Jesuit order in the 1970s, had been complicit in the crimes of Argentina’s cruel and repressive military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. Horacio Verbitsky, an investigative journalist who as editor of Pagina 12, a newspaper, has been chief propagandist for the Kirchner governments, claimed in 1999 that Father Bergoglio had handed over two Jesuit priests to the navy, which held them for five months. The priests had failed to heed his warning that they should leave the poor district where they worked, for their own protection, after a lay worker had joined the Montoneros, a guerrilla movement.
This week Mr Verbitsky published a foreign-ministry document of 1979 which appeared to suggest that Father Bergoglio had recommended that one of the priests, Franz Jalics, who had fled to Germany after his release, should be denied a passport because of his suspected links with leftist guerrilla groups. The new pope was deceitful, argues Mr Verbitsky: while pretending to help the priests publicly, he had privately worked against them.
At first glance, the document looks damning. But academics who have studied Argentina’s political violence of the 1970s think there is no evidence that Father Bergoglio helped the dictatorship, and he himself has rejected that allegation. Marcos Novaro, a sociologist at the University of Buenos Aires, thinks that Father Bergoglio did not want Father Jalics to be granted a passport because he was afraid he would be killed if he returned to Argentina. Father Jalics himself stated this week that Father Bergoglio did not inform on him and his colleague. Loris Zanatta, a historian of the Argentine church, says he has found much documentary evidence of the Jesuits’ efforts to free their colleagues. Others add that Father Bergoglio personally led these.
Mr Verbitsky’s allegation against Pope Francis is an example of the way in which, under the Kirchner governments, history has become a political weapon. The government has promoted trials of retired military officers; unlike previous trials in the 1980s, which ended in an amnesty after threats of military coups, these ones have not included any guerrilla leaders. Several senior officials are former Montoneros, as is Mr Verbitsky. In referring to the past, Ms Fernández never criticises the guerrillas, who were responsible for some 600 deaths and whose terrorism provoked the formation of a right-wing death squad and the 1976 military coup.
A Google search turns up 204,000 results on “Montoneros Cristina Fernández,” going back to her college days.
That was then, this is now: After her Papal mate photo-op, Cristina declared that the Pope talked about “our motherland”, which she interpreted as meaning Latin America, when the Pope probably meant Heaven. Jaime Bayly riffs on that (in Spanish),
And a question,
Cristina: smokey eye look, or full Alice Cooper black eye look?