Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Colombia: The ugly “deal” with the FARC

Monday, September 28th, 2015

First, what’s ugly about it? No referendum. More on that in a moment.

Here’s the Comunicado conjunto # 60 sobre el Acuerdo de creación de una Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (and the English Summary of the September 23 Government-FARC Communiqué on the Transitional Justice Accord). I could not find the text of the accord itself, but the Communiqué states,

While it is not in the text of the accord, President Juan Manuel Santos said that the sides have agreed to sign a final accord within the next six months.

Steven Taylor is optimistic,

Hopefully the current process will lead to real justice and reconciliation as well as a better state presence in the frontier regions of Colombia.

Mary O’Grady is not as sanguine:
Colombia’s Dubious Deal With Terrorists: Why President Santos won’t let voters decide the fate of his FARC peace agreement.

For starters, the White House pressured for a deal.
Pope Che intervened during last week’s visit to Cuba,

Referring to four years of Colombian government negotiations in Havana with the drug-trafficking terrorist group FARC, Pope Francis said “Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation.” That was pope-speak for “get this done.”

Then there’s the secrecy. As I stated above, as of the writing of this post I could not find the text of the accord itself, only of the Communiqué. O’Grady points out (emphasis added):

FARC atrocities will not land the perpetrators in jail. Instead they will go before one of two special tribunals, which will include judges from other countries. What countries, nobody knows.

Cuba? Venezuela?

If the accused acknowledge their crimes, their most severe penalties will be confinement to the rural areas where they already live, for five to eight years, and some community service. In the case of crimes against humanity this will violate Colombia’s commitments under the Geneva convention.

At the same time, the military, and members of the civilian government and civil society would be on trial alongside the terrorists – would they simply be sentenced to confinement to the areas where they already live, and some community service?

O’Grady continues,

The FARC has said it will not turn over its weapons. It owes reparations to victims and the nation, but how it will pay its debts or to whom nobody knows. FARC leaders will enter politics flush with cash acquired in the cocaine and kidnapping trades.

Last year Mr. Santos announced that he wanted to widen the definition of a political crime to include drug trafficking so that the FARC could claim that they are not gangsters but political actors. This was so he could meet their demand of no jail time.

O’Grady doesn’t mention that the Communiqué describes a number of vague measures, such as “Una ley de amnistía precisará el alcance de la conexidad.” (An amnesty law will specify the extent of the connectedness – what does that mean?), and that some crimes would fall exclusively under the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the one with judges from unspecified foreign countries.

However, one thing is clear: Santos doesn’t want a referendum, as O’Grady states,

I’ve lost count of how many times Mr. Santos told me personally that Colombians would have a chance to vote on whatever was agreed upon in Havana. He repeated that pledge in interviews and numerous speeches to the nation. Yet on a radio show in August he stated categorically “I have never been on board with a referendum.” Now he calls a referendum “suicide.

Santos wants special commissions in Congress to approve the agreement, and is asking Congress for an enabling law granting him special powers

for 180 days so that he can dictate implementation of the deal.

Former president (who delivered the FARC a Terrible, Horrible, no Good, very Bad Year in 2008) and current senator Alvaro Uribe is opposed to the deal, but he’s not alone: Breakthrough in Farc talks triggers backlash in Colombia.

#AccordOfImpunity Santos and Farc will nominate the Tribunal that Congress will ratify. Terrorism imposes justice. Where are we heading?

The post-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Thank God Papa Che came and left without incident. Yet, as Rich Lowry put it,

The Catholic Church’s traditional discomfort with modernity has cachet at this moment in American politics, especially when it is wrapped in the fashionable causes of income inequality and climate change. In this sense, Pope Francis is (inadvertently) a genius marketeer by taking crackpot attitudes about economic development and getting them a respectful hearing.

Taking the Pope to School

Argentina’s Presidential Hopefuls Aim to Further Militarize Drug War. Experts Warn “Failed Policy” Will Lead to More Violence, Corruption

Can Argentina responsibly develop its massive shale oil and gas potential?


Bolivia row with Chile over strip of land to Pacific Ocean goes to The Hague.
Anger in Chile as International Court of Justice at the Hague declares it has jurisdiction to rule on Bolivia’s claim

Gates Foundation sues Petrobras. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sues the Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras for investment losses due to corruption.

Chile refuses bilateral negotiations over Bolivia border dispute

Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leaders signed an accord in Havana under the aaegis of Raul Castro. Alvaro Uribe refers to it as an “Agreement of Impunity” (#AcuerdoDeImpunidad):
Santos, it’s not peace that’s near, it’s the surrender to FARC and the tyranny of Venezuela.”

The accord does not address the issue of drug trafficking.

Colombia Peace Process: Theatre of the Politically Absurd.

The accord is one of the biggest stories of the year, and U.S. media has barely mentioned it, even when the pope was involved (link in Spanish).

Violence in Costa Rica Reaching ‘Pandemic’ Levels?

Governor Cuomo and Raúl Castro of Cuba Meet

Haiti border crisis grows as Dominican Republic expels ‘migrants’

Ecuador’s President Used Millions Of Dollars Of Public Funds To Censor Critical Online Videos. Exclusive: BuzzFeed News has seen leaked documents that reveal Rafael Correa used the intelligence budget to delete content critical of him and the first lady from YouTube, Facebook, and other sites.

Testing the limits on crazy immigration policies, a New plan: we’ll pay to import formerly deported illegals with mental illnesses

Jamaican Anti-Gay Rally to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, Even Though No One Has Proposed It. Like it or not, Jamaica is leapfrogging over decriminalization and straight to relationship equality. Here are four reasons LGBTI activists should embrace the issue.

State capitalism, populism, extractive economies and corruption don’t work: Support for Latin American Leaders Has Fallen Steadily, Poll Shows: Latin America’s political leaders face a bleak future and a potent backlash from citizens regionwide who feel increasingly disillusioned as economies stumble and corruption flourishes, a new poll across 18 countries by a respected Chilean firm shows.

Latin America cracks open its doors as Syrian refugee crisis mounts. Syrian Issa Hassan is one of the first to land in Mexico today as citizen pressure to do more mounts. Many countries in the region have had their own experiences with authoritarian rule and brutality.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto meets Iguala parents and vows to “search for truth”. President holds first face-to-face with families of the 43 missing teaching students

Dozens of Clandestine Graves Found During Search for Missing Mexican Students

Nicaragua says planned canal will cut sailing time for mega-ships, if it ever gets started, that is.

Companies building controversial dam in Panama hit with $1.2 mn in fines

Paraguay Homicides Drop, But Border Remains Violent 

The figures show high concentrations of violence in the states of Amambay and Alto Parana, with those provinces registering 50 and 31 homicides respectively. Both of these states are major border crossings between Paraguay and Brazil. Amambay in particular isone of the most dangerous border regions in Latin America, registering a murder rate of 66.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014.  

British tourists held overnight by Peruvian protesters. Tour party hijacked by indigenous campaigners angered by halt in road construction

Puerto Rico Funds May Face Federal Oversight. Legislation that would subject Puerto Rico mutual funds to the same regulations as mainland funds is expected to be introduced in Congress on Friday, a sign Puerto Rico’s financial crisis is drawing greater scrutiny.

Dozens Injured, Arrested in Student Protest in Uruguay

Antonio Ledezma: Seven Months under House Arrest, Still No Hearing for Caracas Mayor. Venezuelan Opposition Fears a Repeat of Leopoldo López Case Leaked Government Study Reveals Extent of Shortage Crisis in Venezuela. Report Exposes “Economic War” as Fraud, Says Center for Documentation Director

Venezuelan defector reveals secret meetings between Maduro and Hezbollah

Thursday night papal tango

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

“On Sunday, September 20, Argentine Tango dancers from in and around Philadelphia gathered in one of the city’s most iconic locations, Love Park, to record this danced and spoken welcome message for Pope Francis in anticipation of his arrival in Philadelphia later this week.”

Francis and what’s missing

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Before I start, I must clarify a point: For Catholic believers, the Pope is most definitely NOT supposed to be infallible at all times. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, as promulgated by Pope John Paul II, specifically and narrowly defines when and to what the doctrine of infallibility applies.

However, the mistaken belief that a pope’s infallibility applies all the time in all instances can and has been been, and will continue to be, exploited for political purposes – sometimes by the pope themselves.

Add to that a “likable guy” in the office of Pope, and you get full-blitz.

Right now we have two instances:
1. The Pope’s photo-ops with the Castros, When Francis Came to Cuba:

When four dissidents somehow managed to get close to Pope Francis, despite the efforts of church and state to keep all such Cubans away from him, they were quickly attacked by plain-clothed state security agents and whisked away to prison. Has Pope Francis denounced these injustices, which amount to religious persecution? Has he voiced concern over the compliance of his bishops in this persecution? No. Not a word. His silence is deafening.

Now in the U.S., Francis remains silent on government’s shut down of the Catholic Church’s adoption program in Boston. Likewise, this is puzzling news:

Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the PoorWednesday, a move that Vatican officials said was intended to send a message of support in the nuns’ battle against Obamacare.

Why a quiet message of support? Why not make it out front, direct, as part of the official schedule?

2. An emphasis on global warming/climate change alarmism, which, as Roger Kimball points out,

It’s long been clear that environmentalism is the new religion for leftists. You can never be Green enough, comrade, and the ideology of climate change provides an unending rationale for economic redistribution.

Francis deplored capitalism in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (while saying “we need a conversation which includes everyone,” uninvited Philippe de Larminat for his climate skepticism), asserting

Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.

By “the distribution of goods” Francis means “transfer of wealth,” one of the tenets of the environmentalist creed.

When speaking to Congress this morning, Francis repeated many of his environmental points from Laudato Si’as expected.

One thing was missing:
While referring to “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners” – an invitation to welcome more immigrants – he made no mention of the hundreds of thousands of Christians martyred and slaughtered for their faith by Islamists. Of all the omissions, this one is the most disturbing of all.

These omissions bring to my mind the Anglican General Confession, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.

I am not a deep thinker, so to end this post I go back to Carlos Eire, who is. He ended his article,

For now, all we Cuban Catholics can do is acknowledge the fact that the first pope, Saint Peter, made many, many mistakes, and that none of his successors have been infallible when it comes to politics. And we can take comfort in praying along with an innumerable throng of Christians who stretch all the way back to first century: Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

What many of his new political friends mainly seek is to have the pope “moralize” their politics. Indeed.

Update 2:
Ben Shapiro dissects the speech.

Nancy and Joe on abortion

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

2015-09-23 10.46.43Nancy and Joe on abortion? Anything but Catholic.

Read my article here.

Hillary Clinton: No Limits on Abortion, Not Even In the Ninth Month of Pregnancy

Carly Fiorina is especially being battered by these “misleading’ claims horseshit, because she gave such a riveting accounting of the videos, daring people to watch them.

Well, the media is very insistent that you not do that. That’s why they tend not to run the tapes when they claim they’re misleading — the public would see the media’s claims are bullshit.

Well, Fiorina’s PAC is running them in their response to these bullshit claims.

CONTENT WARNING — contains the upsetting footage the media doesn’t want you to see.


Cuba: Francis won’t talk to Congress about embargo

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Today’s headline: Pope Francis Won’t Push for More Cuba Trade Easing in Speech to Congress. He doesn’t plan to raise the question of the U.S. embargo in his Congressional address this week So far, so good, until you read this (emphasis added),

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis doesn’t plan to raise the question of the U.S. embargo against Cuba during his address to Congress this week and said he declined to meet with dissidents during his visit to Cuba as part of a general policy against private meetings during the visit.

Say, again?

As Carlos Eire says, One must admit, this papal circus will go down in history as one of the most significant triumphs of the Castro regime, and as a memorable moment in the annals of American journalism.

Cuba: Papal visit roundup

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Francis’s visit to Cuba went as expected, with plenty of photo-ops validating the Communist regime and perpetuating the Fidel mystique while ignoring dissidents who actually are Catholic.

In a word, disappointing.

But you wouldn’t know it from the media hype, which will continue as the pope travels to the U.S. touting the perils of capitalism and global warming while ignoring the thousands upon thousands of martyred Christians.

First, the photo-ops as Pope Francis appeases the Castros in repressive Cuba; not that Francis was alone in that as Three Popes Make Same Mistake in Cuba. Hardly surprising since the Bishops Agree to Cuban Communist Party Interference in Pope’s Religious Activities (h/t Babalu). Or, as Michael Ledeen put it, he’s The Pope of Montecristo: The story of Cuban cigars is a good metaphor for the failure of Communist tyranny, and I think it’s shameful that the first Jesuit pope in history apparently intends to talk mostly about the weather instead of freedom.

Then there was the dissidents issue:
ABC Hypes ‘Fun’ Moments of Pope Visit as Protester Is Dragged Away.

Pope Francis’s failure to chide Cuba makes his visit there an empty symbol. Cuban Americans are critical of the pope’s role in helping the US and Cuba rekindle ties, because the Castro regime still lacks accountable governance

Francis landed in Washington this afternoon. He was greeted with selection of football chants. Here’s A schedule of his U.S. visit

El Papa’s week: Trans gender activists Yes, Cuban dissidents No

In other papal news, The Independent reports that Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Setting aside the question of why would true non-believers care, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation

As you can see, I disagree with this,

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Mamita llegó el obispo
llegó el obispo de Roma.
Mamita si tu lo vieras,
que cosa linda
que cosa mona.

[My translation: Mommy the bishop arrived
the bishop of Rome arrived.
Mommy if you could see him
such pretty a thing
so cute a thing

That is not Francis, and that’s not Cuba.

Parting question: Should I file for excommunication?

[Post corrected for HTML]

The pre-papal visit Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;

The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.

Over in Philly, pop-up-popes are springing up all over town:

Argentine Court Blocks Proclamation of Winner in Provincial Vote

An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.

Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):

Alberto Nisman could not have killed himself, ballistics tests show. The prosecutor investigating Argentina’s worst-ever terrorist attack was shot dead by someone else

Conferencia: “Escenario económico y político de la Argentina preelectoral”

Llegamos a Estados Unidos!

Significant Amendments Made To Bermuda’s Partnership Legislation


Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.

Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.

Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.

Chilean Police Arrest 2 in Robbery of Bachelet’s Security Team

Bulletproof Vest Saves Colombian Mayoral Candidate

Cloud of Secrecy Obscures Colombia’s Human-Trafficking Blight. Reported Cases the Tip of the Iceberg, Say Anti-Trafficking Specialists

Normalization update: Tens of thousands of Cubans streaming into U.S. through southwestern border

Free Education in Cuba? Sort of / Ivan Garcia

Castro’s Empty Barabbas Politics For The Pope

Ecuador Moves to Shut Down Press Freedom Group

Rafael Correa’s Fairyland of Misinformation. Lies, Distortions Are All Ecuador’s Delusional President Has Left

El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child

Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.

Guyana to press UN strongly for judicial end to Venezuela controversy – Granger

Two Out of Three Hispanics Oppose Immigration Increase

Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.

Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”

Jamaica contributes US$100,000 to flood-hit Dominica

‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.

Uh oh! New Panama Canal lock leaking

Paraguay Guerrilla Splinter Group Brought Back Into Fold?

New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.

Over 5,000 Chinese citizens applied for Peru visas

S&P Lowers Puerto Rico’s Credit Rating to Its Second-to-Last Rung

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?

Puerto Rico’s debt. No way out

Uruguay will help Syrian refugees reach another country

[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.

Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):

Venezuela Takes Out Full-Page NYT Ad to Defend Violent Deportation Spree

Court Rules TV Network Shut Down by Chávez Must Be Reinstated. RCTV President Celebrates Venezuelans’ “Right to Be Informed”. Good luck with that:

On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.

Miserable Decision Against Leopoldo Lopez No Surprise

VenEconomy: Justice of Horror Enforced All the Way in Venezuela

The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper

Venezuela: Lopez sentenced to 13+ years UPDATED

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Argentina: #Nisman could not have shot himself

Colombia: Is the U.S. pressuring Uribe to accept FARC terms?

Mexico: A fifth bus on the Iguala students case

Panama: New leaks


Guatemala: Comedian wins first round

Uruguay: Syrians don’t like it

Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Imagine, if you will, the ultimate road trip: Driving the PanAmerican Highway from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Monterrey, Mexico, and then steering northeast to Philadelphia, to arrive at the World Meeting of Families.

Read about a most incredible adventure, Heading to the World Meeting of Families in a VW bus . . . all the way from Buenos Aires.

And let’s get Da Tech Guy and the Walkers together!

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Friday, August 21st, 2015

After the pontiff took home the Communist crucifix, I borrow Dorothy Parker’s question to ask him, Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be?

Pope Francis poses with ‘dialogue for Malvinas’ sign
Pope Francis poses with a propaganda sign calling for “dialogue” between Britain and Argentina

It is time for dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom about the Falkland Islands

Argentina’s rulers for decades have used the Falklands as a propaganda tool by which they can distract from the dictatorship, the economic situation, the poverty, the corruption, the “silence is health” mentality. The Falklanders have confirmed their right to self-determination by overwhelmingly voting to remain British in a March 2013 referendum.

Cristina Fernandez, whom the pope has hosted at least five times since his ascension to the papacy, is particularly fervid on the Falklands (a subject dear to Hugo Chavez, her 21st Century Socialism compadre) also because of new oil findings on Falklands territory. There’s even a Twitter hashtag,

Gustavo Hoyo, director of the “dialogue” movement, has been tweeting pictures of ordinary Argentines and well-known faces holding the placard.

By holding the sign, Francis has now joined in the propaganda, on the 50th anniversary of the UN’s Decolonization Committe resolution asking for dialogue, just as Cristina ramps up the rhetoric as the October 25 election looms.

Sure enough, Cristina tweeted it,

What a tool you are, Francis.

Mercopress says the pope’s not a tool, but a clueless fool,

“The Holy Father did not even realise he had this object in his hands. He has discovered this just now after seeing the photograph,” Father Ciro Benedettini said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Interesting how so many have to explain “what Francis really meant” after the fact.

“Nobody takes Francis by surprise”, tweets Cristina: