"Washington's Pope"? Who is Pope Francis?
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Argentina's "Dirty War"
In the course of the last two years, Pope Francis has been portrayed in chorus by the Western media as an antiwar activist and a left leaning champion of "Liberation Theology" committed to World peace and global poverty alleviation.
His September 24 speech to the US Congress was described as "stunning in the breadth, depth, and conviction of its progressivism."
"If President Barack Obama had delivered the text of Pope Francis's speech to Congress Thursday [September 24, 2015] as a State of the Union address, he would have risked being denounced by Republicans as a socialist."
Who is Pope Francis? Who was he before he became Pope?
Pope Francis is said to have brought "Liberation Theology into the Vatican", in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi. While highlighting his commitment to peace and social justice, the Western media fail to mention that Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis I) has been a staunch supporter of US imperial interests in Latin America for more than half a century.
While heralded by antiwar activists as a "progressive", Pope Francis was one of the main supporters –within the Catholic hierarchy– of Argentina's military dictatorship which came to power in a CIA supported coup in 1976.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio not only supported the US sponsored dictatorship, he also played a direct and complicit role in the "Dirty War" (la guerra sucia") in liaison with the military Junta headed by General Jorge Videla, leading to the arrest, imprisonment, torture and disappearance of progressive Catholic priests and laymen who were opposed to Argentina's military rule.
"While the two priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio, kidnapped by the death squads in May 1976 were released five months later. after having been tortured, six other people associated with their parish kidnapped as part of the same operation were "disappeared" (desaparecidos)."
Liberation Theology has become a convenient tool of media propaganda: the protagonists of oppression are portrayed as liberators. Pope Francis I, heralded as the champion of Liberation in Latin America is now bringing his message to Palestine: According to Naim Ateek, the founder of Liberation Theology in Palestine, quoted in TIME, "We feel he has been able to speak about the poor in Latin America,… Now we would like to see him speak about the oppressed in Palestine."
At a historic meeting at the Vatican in early May 2014 with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Pope Francis I urged world leaders to challenge "all forms of injustice" and resist the "economy of exclusion… the throwaway culture, … and the "culture of death," [which] … sadly risk becoming passively accepted." (National Catholic Reporter, May 26, 2014.
Careful choice of words by Pope Francis: The CIA's "dirty war" in Latin America under Operation Condor in which Pope Francis actively participated was predicated on the "Culture of Death". The 1976 military coup was supported by Wall Street precisely with a view to imposing "the economy of exclusion" (namely neoliberalism) conducive to the impoverishment of the Argentinian population.
The following article was first written in March 2013 following the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I by the Vatican conclave.
Michel Chossudovsky, May 28, 2014, updated, September 25, 2015
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