[Latin America has been ridden with political corruption and brutality for a century or more. The U.S. intervened there numerous times to displace elected governments that threatened American corporate interests (e.g United Fruit) through the mid 20th century and then during the Cold War to block elected left wing governments such as that of Salvadore Allende in Chile. He was replaced by General Pinochet who murdered many thousands of Chileans, including the father and brother of the current Chilean president. The killer regimes climaxed with the military juntas of the late 1970s and early 1980s which ruled almost all Latin American nations. Argentina’s and Brazil’s were among the most deadly, literally dropping victims from on high out of helicopters into the Atlantic ocean! A Catholic archbishop was murdered at the altar for his opposition to the regime in one Central American country. The U.S. supported and even trained some of the worst of these Latin American military in our School of the Americas.

As the report below indicates, some Roman Catholic religious also gave their support to the most brutal of the regimes and even Pope John Paul II (with his anti-Communist background from Poland) reined in Catholics who opposed brutal regimes. The upshot is that the Catholic Church in Latin America is suspect and is in many countries being displaced by Protestant evangelicals. During a recent visit to Latin American countries the current Pope, Benedict XVI, was startled to be confronted with hostile protests. Much peace-making has been achieved by “truth and reconciliation” hearings in such places at Argentina following the model of those in South Africa. But we should not be surprised at the reactions against and suspicions of the U.S. by such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia — the first leading politicians of their countries with native American roots. Ed Kent]

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Priest Convicted in Argentine “Dirty War” Tribunal
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101007R.shtml
Truthout’s Sam Ferguson, reporting from La Plata, Argentina, writes, “large crowds inside and outside La Plata’s federal courthouse erupted into cheers when a three-judge tribunal announced that Father Christian von Wernich was guilty, committed his crimes ‘under the mark of genocide,’ and sentenced him to life in prison.”

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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