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Argentina

Arch-Traditionalist Catholics Storm Argentine Holocaust Memorial

The ceremony was a favorite annual inter-faith event of then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who went on to become Pope Francis.

A priest confronts a protester
A priest confronts a protester
Screen grab/TN Ultima

BUENOS AIRES — Arch-traditionalist Catholics stormed the central Cathedral of Buenos Aires, shouting slogans and praying loudly during an Holocaust memorial service Tuesday night that had long been a ceremony led by the future Pope Francis.

The Argentine daily Clarinreported that a crowd of mostly young people suddenly interrupted a mixed-faith event marking the 75th anniversary of "Kristallnacht," the infamous Night of Broken Glass, which in 1938 initiated the Nazi regime's murderous persecution of Jews.

The demonstrators, including at least one priest, shouted slogans against the presence of Jews in a Catholic church, and began to loudly recite Christian prayers when the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli — who succeeded the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio — sought to inaugurate the service, the Argentine news agency Télam reported.

The members of the group spread leaflets, denouncing “the worshippers of false gods” and “wolves parading as shepherds” they said were misleading the congregation about God.

Congregation members including officials, diplomats and members of the Jewish community protested, but members of the Federal Police present did not intervene, Clarin reported.

Archbishop Poli told Jewish members of the congregation, “dear Jewish brothers consider yourselves at home, because that is our desire as Christians, in spite of the traces of intolerance. Your presence here does not demystify God’s temple. Let us undertake this meeting in peace, as desired by Pope Francis.”

During the Kristallnacht rampage, between Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, more than 90 Jews were killed by thugs and paramilitaries marauding the streets in several German and Austrian cities, as bystanders watched thousands of businesses being burned and ransacked. Up to 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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