Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Pope Francis, the glass is more than half-full.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Granted, the glass is more than half-empty in Argentina, but in general terms, the Pope is wrong:

Is the Pope Right About the World?
We’re living at a far more equal, peaceful, and prosperous time than the pontiff acknowledges.

On inequality,

Paradoxically, the shrinking of the global inequality gap was only possible after India and China abandoned their attempts to create equality through central planning. By allowing people to keep more of the money they earned, the Chinese and Indian governments incentivized people to create more wealth. Allowing inequality to increase at home, in other words, diminished inequality globally. And global inequality, surely, is the statistic that should most concern the leader of a global religion.

Read the whole article.

Pope Francis is also wrong on Islam.

I stand by my word: free markets, property rights, and the rule of law are the engines that improve all of mankind.

TIME’s Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Pope Francis, The People’s Pope
He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century

Argentina: Pope Francis, Renault 4 Club’s lifetime member

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

A few days ago an Italian priest gifted Pope Francis a popemobile that is a lot like him: frugal, clad in white and with a fair bit of mileage. The Pope will use it for getting around the Vatican, which tells me a couple of things:

  • Popes get parking privileges
  • Francis likes stick shift
  • The little car looks like fun
  • He runs his own errands.

Following the news of the Pope’s new wheels (which, at 186,000 miles goes beyond “certified pre-owned”), the Buenos Aires-based Argentina Renault 4 Motor Club has granted Pope Francis a lifetime membership, since Pope Francis owned a green Renault 4 back in the day.

Here’s a YouTube of the club’s loyal fans meeting in the cold rain to show off their “roadrunners”, as they call their cars,

I can’t wait to see photos of the Pope washing the car when he needs to think.


Argentina: Wall-to-wall Papal photo up

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Cristina Fernández, who’s up for re-election in October, 2015 but desperately needs a legislative majority, is using a photo of herself and candidate Martín Insaurralde (who she hopes will be her majority leader) taken with Pope Francis:

The poster reads, “Don’t be downcast; don’t let go of hope.”

When I was in Buenos aires the week Nestor Kirchner died, leaving Cristina as widow and president, the posters of him and Cristina popped up immediately, on every subway car and station, and on every corner of the city, even in the suburb where I was staying.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Apparently the Pope photo-op is now everywhere. Cristina claims it’s not a campaign ad.

The photo was taken last week during the Pope’s visit to Brazil, which was a resounding success. Pope Francis was meeting the heads of state that came to Mass.

The Pope, who is hugely popular in Argentina (tango included), was, during his tenure as Cardinal in Buenos Aires, a big critic of the Kirchners, but now, with the poster prominently papering every public surface, Cristina’s making look like the Pope’s on her side.


The maggot Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, July 29th, 2013

LatinAmerNo, not maggot Anthony Weiner (with apologies to any soft limbless larva of dipterous insects who may be reading this blog). The catchy headline is not from a Star Trek movie, but from another trek . . . to Peru,

A British woman returned from a holiday in Peru hearing scratching noises inside her head to be told she was being attacked by flesh-eating maggots living inside her ear.

Now that I have your attention, here’s the news from our hemisphere:
ARGENTINA
Sure this is the real thing? GREEN Coke launched in Argentina with natural sweetener and fully recyclable bottle

BOLIVIA
Evo says the continent must cease to depend on foreign companies for its large-scale industrial projects: Bolivia’s Morales Calls for South America’s “Technological Liberation”

BRAZIL
Pope Warns of Drug Scourge as Latin America Moves to Legalize

Papal Visit a Mixed Blessing for Rio
Mishaps at a papal event are raising doubts about Rio de Janeiro hosting the upcoming Olympics and the World Cup.

Pope urges talks in divided Brazil
Pope Francis urges Brazil’s government and civil society leaders to use dialogue as an alternative to violent protest and “selfish indifference”.

CHILE
‘Murder’ claim roils Chile campaign
A Chilean lawyer wants charges against the father of the conservative presidential candidate for the murder of her rival’s father.

Some final thoughts on Capriles in Chile

COLOMBIA
Colombia civil conflict has killed ‘nearly a quarter of a million': study
Almost a quarter of a million Colombians have been killed in the country’s bloody half-century conflict, most of them civilians, a government-funded report revealed on Wednesday, providing fresh evidence of the vast scale of human rights violations since hostilities began.

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica Aims for Zoos without Cages. [Insert NJ Turnpike joke here]

CUBA
The Castro Brothers Get Caught in the Act News of arms shipments to North Korea rudely interrupts the happy talk about reforms in Cuba.

The Cuban Cargo Caper

In the spirit of rock and roll and freedom, Cuban heavy metal band Hipnosis defects

ECUADOR
U.S. Aims to Resume Bilateral Talks With Ecuador Before Year-End

Chevron’s latest headache in $19 billion lawsuit
A federal appeals court is weighing a sixth attempt by representatives of the Amazon Defense Front to toss the judge hearing the oil giant’s RICO case.

HAITI
Haiti cholera epidemic caused by UN, say experts

HONDURAS
UNREAL! Chicago Teachers Union Officials Travel to Honduras to Discuss “Revolution” With Former Tyrant

LATIN AMERICA
FDA set to overhaul food safety rules for imported fruits, veggies

Latin America and Edward Snowden
South Americans in glasshouses

MEXICO
WSJ letter to the editor: Mexico Needs Big Oil-Policy Change
Pemex’s freedom of maneuver has been held hostage for a half-century by a national narrative that misunderstands the global dynamic of the oil industry

NICARAGUA
Chinese Businessman Seeks to Build Nicaraguan Canal

PERU
More than 100 bodies exhumed in Peru

PUERTO RICO
Luis Gutierrez Asks Congress To Oppose Puerto Rico Statehood Resolution In Joint Letter With Nydia Velazquez

SURINAME
Suriname wants Dutch compensation for slave trade (h/t Gates of Vienna)

VENEZUELA
Apocalyptic South American fuck-up nudges up fund manager’s alpha

In Venezuela, the only fully-stocked supermarket belongs to the government: Caracas’s only fully-stocked supermarket and its one-in one-out policy
Demand at Caracas’s only fully-stocked supermarket – the government-run Bicentenario – is so high that it is now operating a “one-in, one-out” policy.

The week’s posts:
Brazil: 3 million expected at Copacabana today

Latin America and the China bubble

Cuba: A grim anniversary

Venezuela: Maduro gets hacked

Habemus Papam, habemus tango

Cuba: Civility, schmivility

Brazil: The Pope in a pickle

UNESCO self-ridicules UPDATED

Puerto Rico: Wind farm fiasco


Brazil: 3 million expected at Copacabana today

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Millions of people converged on Copacabana Beach Saturday for an evening vigil with Pope Francis

Hundreds of thousands of youths camped out on Copacabana beach ahead of Pope Francis’ final mass for World Youth Day. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro estimated that some three million people would turn up for Sunday mass. Photo: Associated Press.

Including some Americans:

While mishaps at a papal event are raising doubts about Rio de Janeiro hosting the upcoming Olympics and the World Cup, this, Pope Francis’s first visit to our hemisphere, has shown him relating to the huge crowds on their terms.

Habemus Papam, habemus tango

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Didn’t take long! Tango “Francisco”, about and in honor of Pope Francis I:

Meanwhile, his security detail is struggling to figure out how to keep the pontiff safe:

Today he celebrated Mass at the shrine of the Virgin of Aparecida, in front of a huge crowd gathered for World Youth Day.

Brazil: The Pope in a pickle

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Drudge summarizes:

The protestors were out last night,

Going in the Fiat wasn’t such a good idea – nice thought, but very dangerous.

Lady in White met Pope in white

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, was able to exchange greetings with Pope Francis yesterday at the end of a general audience held in St. Peter’s Square

Soler handed the pope two letters from the wives of political prisoners, according to the French news agency AFP. Soler later told the media that the pope had given her a blessing and asked her to continue her fight.

Carlos Eire points out that

It may seem like an insignificant encounter to some, but this is a big deal, and the rulers of the Castro Kingdom will gnash their teeth when they see this photo. The Cuban flag draped between the two figures in white will be a great irritant to the tyrants, because they refuse to accept the fact that Cuba belongs to all Cubans, not just to their slave-drivers and those slaves who agree to submit to the lash. .

So, even though this was a brief encounter, it delivers a potent message.

It’s definitely an improvement over the prior pope’s refusal to meet them while he was in Cuba.


Argentina: Cristina’s discomfort

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Andres Oppenheimer writes on how the Argentine president may be hurt by “Francismania”

Finally, a third group of political analysts believes the “Francis effect” will hurt the Fernández government, because the pope’s messages against authoritarianism, intolerance, and hubris will be read by most Argentines as indirect criticisms of Fernández.

“A clash is inevitable, and the clash will end up hurting Cristina,” says Jaime Duran Barba, an Ecuadorean pollster who advises opposition leaders here.

My opinion: Despite Fernández’s last minute turn to embrace “Francismania,” the pope’s emergence as the most popular figure in Argentina will end up hurting her.

Granted, Pope Francis will most likely not make any political statements about Argentine politics. He is expected to make his first visit to Argentina as pope in December — after the October mid-term elections — so as not to interfere with local politics.

But in his homilies during his first Latin American visit to Brazil this coming July, his frequent criticism of autocratic measures, political arrogance and hubris will inevitably be read by many here as indirect barbs at the president.

At the very least, “Francismania” will have a dampening effect on Fernández’s ability to circumvent the rules of good democratic behavior — and civility — to get reelected at any cost.

As Drudge says, “developing…”