Monday, August 29, 2011

Also from Democracy Now!: the Vatican against Aristide

I've talked about the longterm interference in Haitian politics by the US and other governments. The latest reports based on documents revealed by Wikileaks call attention to an aspect that's received less attention: the involvement of the Vatican. From the interview:
AMY GOODMAN: Give us specific examples that you found in the documents.

KIM IVES: Well, the Vatican, for instance. Here, they said they had no regrets about Aristide being removed. They said, “The priest had to go.” When he was out, and there was, after the earthquake, talk of bringing him back, they said, “This would be a disaster. It would be destabilizing.” It was very interesting, too, how they were seeing it as similar to Cuba. And they said, “Cuba is a much harder problem, because that’s a system there. In the case of Haiti, it’s just Aristide. It’s an individual. We can get him out easily.” So, they’re openly talking among themselves on this worldwide basis about how to block this guy.


AMY GOODMAN: March 5th, 2004, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican James Nicholson wrote a cable reporting that the Holy See’s Deputy Foreign Minister had "no regret at Aristide’s departure, noting [that] the former priest had been an active proponent of voodoo.”

KIM IVES: Of voodoo, yes. Well, we have to remember, the Vatican has a huge grudge against Aristide. He was one of their star priests. That’s how he rose to prominence as a Salesian priest, St. John Bosco in Port-au-Prince in the 1980s. He was talking about liberation theology, putting the hierarchy on the spot.

The RCC seems fairly content to let people see them as champions of freedom and justice in the Americas on the basis of the involvement of some priests and nuns in liberation movements. But the Vatican has been supportive of the most brutal dictatorships in the region and hostile to Catholics on the front lines of social justice struggles, even exposing local clergy to harassment and violence.

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