Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

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.


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:
Sure this is the real thing? GREEN Coke launched in Argentina with natural sweetener and fully recyclable bottle

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”

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”.

‘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 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 Aims for Zoos without Cages. [Insert NJ Turnpike joke here]

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

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 cholera epidemic caused by UN, say experts

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

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

Latin America and Edward Snowden
South Americans in glasshouses

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

Chinese Businessman Seeks to Build Nicaraguan Canal

More than 100 bodies exhumed in Peru

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

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

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…”

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Stanford Victims Will Benefit From $300M Settlement

Imprisoned priest Francisco Jalics breaks silence over Pope Francis, clearing him for involvement in ‘Dirty War’
Jalics had been silent for years in a German monastery. He once thought then-Cardinal Bergoglio played a role in his arrest

Social Justice And Pope Francis: Choosing Freedom Over Serfdom

After Frosty Past, Pope Meets Argentine Leader

Making nice? Argentina’s Kirchner and Pope Francis meet in Rome (+video)
Beneath the cordial meeting today between new Pope Francis and President Kirchner lies a rocky and strained relationship that stretches back to 2004.

[Additional video below the fold]

Indians, police clash at Rio complex near Maracana to be razed for 2014 World Cup

Brazil’s opposition
The Minas medicine
Aécio Neves ran his state well. But he may struggle to convince voters that his formula is right for the presidency

Wave of prawn deaths baffles Chile city of Coronel
Thousands of dead prawns have washed up on a beach in Chile, sparking an investigation.
Hundreds of dead crabs were also washed ashore in Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago.

Ten years later, Colombia nabs rebel linked to Uribe inauguration attack. What’s with the “rebel” thing? The guy’s a terrorist.

Starbucks buys coffee farm in Costa Rica (h/t DP)

African Politicians Laundering Money Through Cuba

Daughter of Oswaldo Paya demands international inquiry into his death

Dominican Republic detains 35 soldiers and police, 4 French citizens in drug investigation

République dominicaine : démantèlement d’un réseau de trafic de drogue vers la France

Ecuadorian diplomacy fails in his attempt to change the IACHR reforms

Guatemala ex-ruler Rios Montt on trial for genocide
The trial of the former military ruler of Guatemala, Efrain Rios Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity has begun in Guatemala City.

Seldom Tried Honduran Dishes Made from Unusual Root Crops (h/t DP)

Heads of state at the Papal inauguration, Bayly style (in Spanish),

Mexico’s attorney general says no motive yet in US car shooting that wounded 2 CIA agents

Panama Canal Minister: Deepen Port of Savannah

Petroperú to Take Over Former Talisman Concession in Peru
Petróleos del Perú SA plans to take over operations at Block 64 in northern Peru, an important step for the state-owned oil company to return to upstream operations.

Puerto Rico: US army drills ‘did not cause illnesses’

Venezuela Acts to Ease Dollar Shortage

Chavez trek

The week’s posts:
Pope Francis not dancing to Cristina’s tune

Yoani Sanchez meets Marco Rubio

Latino demographics: Integration is the key factor

Mexico: Will PEMEX reforms come to pass?

Correcting my error on my article on Pope Francis



Pope calling!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Pope Francis has been keeping in touch with his friends at the old neighborhood: Pope calls Argentine kiosk owner to cancel paper delivery

Around 1:30 p.m. local time on March 18, Daniel Del Regno, the kiosk owner’s son, answered the phone and heard a voice say, “Hi Daniel, it’s Cardinal Jorge.”

He thought that maybe a friend who knew that the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires bought the newspaper from them every day was pulling a prank on him.

“Seriously, it’s Jorge Bergoglio, I’m calling you from Rome,” the Pope insisted.

Daniel’s father, Luis Del Regno, said they delivered the paper to the former cardinal’s residence every day.

On Sundays, he said, the cardinal “would come by the kiosk at 5:30 a.m. and buy La Nacion. He would chat with us for a few minutes and then take the bus to Lugano, where he would serve mate (tea) to young people and the sick.”

FP Passport reports that he also called his dentist to cancel appointments.

This reminds me of my late uncle in Puerto Rico, who, when he was the Pope’s age, would get up every morning, put on a suit and tie, walk to the newsstand and the coffee shop and chat with the regulars.

Pope Francis not dancing to Cristina’s tune

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

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?