Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

The unsubsidized Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The week’s headlines in a sentence: While the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage, the deadline for the Iran negotiations looms and terrorists are blowing up people and pipelines all over the place.

ARGENTINA
Contraband Economy Booming on the Argentina-Bolivia Border
High Inflation, Tariffs Fuel Thriving Black Market

The location of the judge is rather interesting: Argentine judge orders seizure of Falklands drillers’ assets

Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, ordered the seizure of $156 million in bank accounts, boats and other property, the government said on Saturday.

BOLIVIA
Pope sends video-message to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. The guy can’t stay away from socialist throwaway terminology:

“I want to be a witness of this joy of the Gospel and bring to you the tenderness and caress of God, our Father, especially to your children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throwaway culture,” he said.

BRAZIL
Brazil to Narrow Inflation Target Range
Brazil will narrow the inflation target range for its central bank starting in 2017, but the center point of the range will remain unchanged at 4.5%. The tolerance band will be cut to a range of 3% to 6%

Working Within the System to Disrupt Brazilian PoliticsRoberto Mangabeira Unger, a Harvard philosopher born in Brazil and raised in Manhattan, has settled into a career as an appointed public figure charged with fostering long-term thinking about Brazil.

CHILE
Chile’s Bachelet Hits New Low Approval Rating

COLOMBIA
Colombian army killed civilians to fake battlefield success, rights group saysA new report on “false-positive” killings looks into one of the darkest episodes of the country’s civil war.

FARC rebels kill four and rupture Colombian pipeline

CUBA
Cardinal SinsA Castro cleric brings disgrace.

Cuban artist pushes boundary between art and politics, and pays a price
What Tania Bruguera’s ordeal in Cuba says about the state of artistic expression “within the Revolution.”

Top Intelligence-Defense Lawmakers Introduce Cuban Military Transparency Act

Double surprise! Cruz and Rubio are “non-whites”!

State Dept: No Change in Iran, Cuba Human Rights, Despite Obama Overtures

ECUADOR
Galápagos Residents Decry Fiscal Milking of World Heritage SiteIsland Representative Resigns, Parts Ways with Correa over “Unconstitutional” Law

GUYANA
Guyana Assures Exxon Amid Venezuela Row
Guyana’s president has sought to reassure Exxon Mobil that a territory dispute with Venezuela won’t interfere with the company’s recent oil discovery off the coast of Guyana, one that Caracas claims as its own.

HAITI
A Haitian border town struggles with new rules in the Dominican RepublicThe Dominican’s new rules have Haitians nervously heading back to a homeland with fewer jobs.

HONDURAS
Thousands march in Honduras to demand resignation of president

Thousands of angry, torch-bearing Hondurans marched on Friday to call for the resignation of President Juan Hernandez and demand an independent probe into one of the worst corruption scandals in the country’s history.

JAMAICA
PM: Jamaica’s Economic, Industrial Climate In ‘Delicate Situation’

LATIN AMERICA
Interesting premise, but premature, Move over, China: Latin America may welcome India. The operative word is may.

MEXICO
Mexican President Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent surgery to have his gallbladder removed and was recovering satisfactorily at a military hospital, officials said.

HARDBALL: DONALD TRUMP BLASTS JORGE RAMOS’S CELL PHONE NUMBER TO 200,000 INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua’s Bizarre Plan to Bury the Panama CanalThe country’s Sandinista government has cut a deal with a reclusive Chinese businessman willing to spend $50 billion on a larger-than-life transport waterway. There are a few unanswered questions, starting with whether Nicaraguans really want it and how much priceless habitat would be wrecked. Traveling the proposed route by motorcycle, boat, and boots, the author hunts for answers.

PANAMA
Odebrecht Wins Contract to Renovate Panamanian City of Colon

Manuel Noriega apologises over military rule of PanamaJailed former dictator gives first interview since 1996 and asks for forgiveness over brutal reign – ‘I want to to close the cycle of the military era’

PERU
Peru’s support for Bolivian sea access claim creates tensions with Chile
Chilean President Bachelet cancels next week’s meeting with Peruvian leader Humala

PUERTO RICO
The perfect Summer portrait, A Sleeper Awakened With Color
Frederic Leighton’s “Flaming June” is on loan to the Frick Collection in New York for the next three months.

URUGUAY
‘Gourmet cannabis': Take a peek inside a Uruguay marijuana club , if you must. To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “fat, stoned and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

VENEZUELA
MUD, the Sausage Fest

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

The week’s posts and podcast:
Colombia: FARC blows up oil pipeline

Bloody Friday: France, Tunisia, Kuwait terror attacks UPDATED
Morgenthau on the Iran-terror connection

Ecuador: Demonstrations against Correa

SCOTUS upholds Obamacare subsidies

Venezuela’s deadly colectivos

The other flag controversy: US Embassy in London flies the rainbow flag

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED

Mexico: EL GRAN HERMANO del cartel TE VIGILA

Venezuela: Next stop on the Obama administration’s “normalizing” with dictators?

Podcast: The flag controversy plus US-Latin America stories of the week



The globally warmed encyclical Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Oblivious to current scientific data, pope Francis I, under the advice of German climate activist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, threw the Catholic Church into the global warming morass and a tailspin of pessimism, thereby making headlines across the world. Francis also banned skeptic Philipe de Larminat.
(I hope to throw in enough metaphors to make it to Taranto one of these days.)

ARGENTINA
Argentine Presidential Race Comes into FocusArgentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo bowed out of the race for the ruling party’s 2015 presidential nomination, leaving Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli as the only candidate

BOLIVIA
Facebook Signs Agreement with Bolivian Telecom to Promote Free Internet

CHILE
Chilean grandma carried mummified foetus for 50 years92-year-old Chilean grandmother has been bearing large mummified foetus for at least 50 years in what is a rare condition known as lithopedion, doctors have discovered

COLOMBIA
[Video show the FARC using schools to train minors and store explosives in Putumayo]

Colombia’s Farc blows up oil pipeline in Catatumbo

CUBA
Obama Admits Cuba Sponsors Terrorism, But…

By Carlos Eire: A Father’s Day Tribute

Stella McCartney’s Anti-Cruelty Fashion Line Celebrates Marxist Killers Fidel Castro & Che Guevara

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The DR makes deportation plans but Dominican Deadline Passes Without Mass Expulsion of Haitian Migrants

ECUADOR
No skin off Correa’s back: Julian Assange’s three-year stay in Ecuadorean embassy has cost taxpayer £11.1mThree years ago the WikiLeaks founder fled bail and sought asylum in Ecuador – resulting in millions being spent on policing the embassy

GUATEMALA
Lone protester ends Guatemala marchA lone protester in Guatemala receives a hero’s welcome after covering more than 200 km (125 miles) in a protest against corruption.

MEXICO
Mexico beer centre attack leaves 10 dead

NICARAGUA
Why is a Chinese Tycoon Building a $50 Billion Canal in Nicaragua That No One Wants?

Remaking world trade?

PANAMA
Panama Ready to Help Normalize Relations Between OAS, Cuba

PERU
Peru Inflation Churns as Consumer Confidence Falls

PUERTO RICO
5 Indicted for Bid-Rigging in Puerto Rico School Bus Auction

[US court orders seizure of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health accounts]

VENEZUELA

Brazilian senators forced out of Venezuela after failed solidarity missionVenezuelan opposition prisoners Leopoldo Lopez, Daniel Ceballos and Antonio Ledezma were due to be visited by a delegation from Brazil – until their path was blocked, and their bus was attacked

Swiss embassy warns Venezuela’s golf players its balls could killMembers of the exclusive Caracas Country Club have reacted with anger to a sign posted by the Swiss embassy warning that stray balls could be in breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations



Laudato Si: The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Samuel Gregg, Research Director at the Acton Institute, ascribes good intentions to pope Francis:
Laudato Si’: Well Intentioned, Economically Flawed

Most distressing perhaps is Pope Francis’ deeply negative view of free markets.

Gregg, in a lengthy, well-reasoned article, points out,

What’s sadly ironic about all this is that the very same encyclical which makes such sweeping assertions about the free market and its advocates is also marked by several welcome calls for reasoned and broad debate (16, 61, 135, 138, 165) about how we address environmental and economic problems. Laudato Si’ also emphasizes that the Church doesn’t have a monopoly of wisdom on the prudential dimension of environmental and economic questions. Yet the encyclical’s use of phrases such as “deified market” (56) and “magical conception of the market” (190); its unsupported association of moral relativism with Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” (123); its relentless linkage of the market with materialism and consumerism (neither of which have had any difficulty flourishing in non-market economies); its failure to critique the left-populist regimes that have brought economic destruction and increased poverty to countries such as Argentina and Venezuela; and its attribution of suspicious motives to those who favor markets, runs contrary to this appeal for open and respectful debate.

Pope Francis, who recently

  • Met with Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutierrez, the self-declared founder of liberation theology.
  • Restored to the priesthood Miguel d’Escoto, the Sandinista who expounded liberation theology as a priest and turned Nicaragua into a Cuban-ruled hellhole. D’Escoto also considers Fidel Castro a saint.
  • Brokered the “easing” of U.S.-Cuba relations that left the Cuban dissidents out in the dark.
  • Welcomed Raul Castro for a “very friendly” hour-long private audience.
  • Recognizes the Palestinian state.

is now calling for a cultural revolution. How did the last cultural revolution work out?

Francis, in his first solo encyclical, relies on decades-old “global north and south” language to describe some of the global economy’s dynamics, language which was adopted in the 1950s by Latin American economists, and

reflects the conceptual apparatus of what was called dependency theory: the notion that resources—especially natural resources—flow from a “periphery” of poor countries to a “core” of rich states, thereby benefiting the wealthy at the poor’s expense. This meant, according to dependency theory economists, that peripheral nations should restrict trade with developed countries and limit foreign investment. The point was to reduce their reliance on exports of raw minerals and agricultural products, consequently promoting the emergence of domestic industrial sectors.

The north-south dependency theory has been discredited. The encyclical, however, will be used as a propaganda tool for decades to come.

The pope’s stance against economic freedom may be based on good intentions –  the stuff the road to hell is paved with.

Related:
The Holy Father has appointed Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Potsdam and director of the Institute for Climate Impact in Potsdam, Federal Republic of Germany, as ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Did Francis sell his car yet?

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Laudato Si (full text at the link) is officially out, all 100 pages of it. After a quick read, here are a couple of impressions:

  • Francis has no faith in man’s ability to improve mankind through technology.
  • He repeatedly refers to the 1991 RIO DECLARATION ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT, which advocated wealth redistribution,

    Principle 7
    States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.

  • The Rio Declaration also advocated birth control (emphasis added),

    Principle 8
    To achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production
    and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies.

    which, except for the rhythm method, a.k.a. Catholic Roulette, the Catholic Church opposes.

  • Francis ignores the global warming scandal.
  • The document’s tone is that of profound pessimism

    Francis would not mind calling a halt to technological progress—or even beginning a rollback. “Given the insatiable and irresponsible growth produced over many decades, we need also to think of containing growth by setting some reasonable limits and even retracing our steps before it is too late.”

  • In an especially poor choice of words, he specifically calls for a cultural revolution:
    All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution.

  • And, of course, he deplores cars,

    Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy.

So my question is, Did Francis sell his car yet?

Mexico: Mass exorcism

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

The Extraordinary Exorcism of Mexico

A few weeks ago Mexico, the second largest Catholic country, was exorcised of its demons in an unprecedented rite of Exorcismo Magno performed in secret in the city of San Luis Potosi. On May 20, the renowned Spanish exorcist José Antonio Fortea, author of the book “El Exorcismo Magno,” joined Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, and a cadre of trained exorcists to perform the maximum type of Catholic exorcism, reserved for nations and dioceses, on the Mexican Republic itself.

When you have cartel members blowing up children [WARNING: GRAPHIC] and mass graves are found all over the place, you can use all the help you can get.

Video below the fold since it starts right away,

(more…)

Colombia: Pope Francis wants to meddle with the “peace process”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

After earning Raul Castro’s thanks and praise for brokering the restoration of relations between Cuba and the US, and thereby screwing the dissidents as repression becomes more severe, now Francis wants to meddle in the Colombian “peace process.”

During a private audience with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Francis

“. . . se mostró enseguida “dispuesto a desempeñar el papel que sea necesario” para poner fin al “más viejo conflicto de Latinoamérica”. [My translation: . . . he’s immediately “willing to take whatever part is needed” to put an end to “Latin America’s oldest conflict”.]

“Peace process” is a fluid term, as last week the Colombian military finally killed Jose Amin Hernandez Manrique, known as Marquitos, a top commander from the country’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), a group urging the FARC to continue its war following a surprise FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.

To his credit, Santos didn’t jump at Francis’s offer. However, the FARC already thanked Pope Francis for his interest regarding the peace talks.

Why the hell does Francis want to meddle? First with Cuba/U.S., then with the global warming scam, and now with Colombia/FARC?

Is he after a Nobel Peace Prize?

Where did Church doctrine and spiritual matters go?

While a majority do call themselves at least nominally Catholic, Colombia does not have a state religion. The Pope’s words carry weight, but only among those who follow him.

Francis is working on the premise that, as head of the Catholic Church, his intervention will carry moral suasion.

Here’s the catch: It cannot.

The FARC, the ELN, and any of the other sundry Marxist narco-terrorist groups, have, for half a century, kidnapped, tortured, killed, maimed, raped, stolen from, and perpetrated heinous crimes on their fellow countrymen. They will only go along for as long as, and only if, it serves their purpose. They are immune to moral suasion.

Likewise on global warming, Francis speaks pretty words,

“Enlighten the masters of power and money so that they should not fall prey to the sin of indifference, so that they should love the common good, support the weak, and care about this world that we inhabit,”

Apparently Francis hasn’t realized that fossil fuels work for the common good. I highly recommend that he read Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels which makes a convincing case that fossil fuels are the only way to develop cheap, reliable, plentiful energy for seven billion people, and that it’s immoral to deny it to the developing world.

For Francis, the thousands of Christians martyred wholesale by ISIS, the Cuban dissidents, the hundreds of millions relying on the use of fossil fuels, are just window dressing. Now the FARC stands to benefit from Francis’s intercession.

But back to Latin America:
Until and unless Francis publicly denounces the role of the Catholic Church in the safe passage of Nazis (among them Josef Megele) into Argentina, his country of birth, as far as I’m concerned, he can STFU.

Argentina: Cristina visits Francis, for the fifth time

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Jorge Mario Bergoglio ascended to the papacy on March 13, 2013, and Cristina Fernandez can’t have enough of him, visiting five times -this time for nearly two hours,

Pope Francis on Sunday met with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the president of his native country. She assured the Roman Pontiff of the affection and closeness of his fellow Argentines and asked for his blessing on their behalf.

The Pope met in private with Argentina’s president for 90 minutes in the Pope’s study at Vatican City’s Paul VI Hall, during which time they exchanged gifts.

Pope Francis, the former Buenos Aires archbishop, gave the president an 11th century Russian icon of Our Lady of Tenderness, the Holy See press office said.

I wonder how much the 11th century icon would get from Hardcore Pawn.

But I digress.

It’s up to you, gentle reader, to decide whether the frequent visits have anything to do with Cristina’s newly-found adherence to the Catholic Church, her fondness for shopping in Rome, well-timed junkets, or the desperate need for favorable publicity (especially since her son Maximo Kirchner may run for vice president),

From Buenos Aires lawmaker and presidential hopeful and fervent Catholic, Elisa Carrio complained the Pope was meeting with political leaders in Argentina’s election year, something he had promised to avoid precisely to stop politicians taking advantage of his picture and influence

I can’t wait for the June 18 global warming encyclical so the pope (a.k.a. the Vatican’s substitute teacher) can tell me to reduce my carbon footprint.

Venezuela: Maduro gets the [chicken?] flu

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, madam
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
She is sorry to be delayed

Cole Porter

Unlike Miss Otis, Nicolas Maduro didn’t stray down Lover’s Lane. Instead, the Venezuelan dictator cancelled a previously-scheduled and well-publicized audience with Pope Francis due to flu and otitis, which is what brought Miss Otis to mind.

Of course, Maduro had to say it in a cadena (which is broadcast on all licensed TV and radio stations in the country).

The news report states that the cancellation

comes as the Catholic Church in Venezuela has been stepping up criticism of human rights abuses in the country.

The Venezuelan Catholics are stepping up the pressure; however, Pope Francis has yet to speak in behalf of Leopoldo Lopez, who is still rotting in jail and killing himself with a hunger strike,

Good evening. It’s Lillian [Lopez’s wife]. Leopoldo sent me an important message. Today is his 12th day in hunger strike. Please RT.

Considering how Pope Francis’s own-brokered Cuba/U.S. deal left Cuban dissidents flapping in the wind, and how chummy Raul and Francis got along, perhaps Maduro could have claimed a miraculous cure and gone on his Vatican junket with no adverse side effects.

Related:
Dictatorship and the Nature of the Vatican

The Pope and Raul: Why?

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Mary O’Grady writes on what’s Behind the Pope’s Embrace of Castro
Speculation runs from a Trojan horse plan to Latin American antipathy of the U.S.

There is another more plausible explanation for why the pope shows disdain in his exhortation for “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” It lies in an Argentine sense of cultural superiority over the money-grubbing capitalists to the north and faith in the state to protect it.

Mexican historian Enrique Krauze traces this to an intellectual backlash against the U.S. after the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American war. Examples he cites in his 2011 book “Redeemers” include the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and the Franco-Argentine historian Paul Groussac, who both painted Americans as uncivilized beasts. According to Mr. Krauze, the southern cone—especially Argentina—also had imported the idea of a “socialism that fought to improve the economic, cultural and educational level of the poor, while generating a nationalist state.”

During his visit,

Castro gave the pope a commemorative medal from Havana’s Cathedral of The Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, along with a painting by a Cuban artist depicting a migrant praying to a cross made of wrecked barges, a statement onthe plight of migrants and refugees throughout the world.

As O’Grady points out,

Raul mocked every Cuban refugee, dead or alive, by giving the pope, of all things, a piece of art depicting a migrant at prayer.

No need to wonder if the pope pointed out the thousands dead attempting to leave the island-prison; if he had, the meeting wouldn’t look as congenial.

Again, I ask, If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

UPDATE:
Read Melanie Phillips’s As I see it: The Vatican channels war against Israel

If the Pope were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Recently, Pope Francis

  • met with Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutierrez, the self-declared founder of liberation theology.
  • Restored to the priesthood Miguel d’Escoto, the Sandinista who expounded liberation theology as a priest and turned Nicaragua into a Cuban-ruled hellhole. D’Escoto also considers Fidel Castro a saint.
  • Brokered the “easing” of U.S.-Cuba relations that left the Cuban dissidents out in the dark.
  • Welcomed Raul Castro for an hour-long private audience.
  • UPDATE: Recognizes the Palestinian state.

To quote the estimable Mark Steyn, “If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”

More on the Pope and liberation theology at IBD: Liberation Theology’s Comeback Comes With A KGB Caveat

UPDATE
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!