Category Archives: Latin America

Haiti’s Cry for Help as Climate Change is Compared to an Act of Violence against the Island Nation

Joseph-Jouthe
Haiti’s Environment Minister Joseph Jouthe says that “climate change is a very big terror in Haiti”, and without funds the Caribbean island nation is unable to adapt and mitigate against it. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

 

MADRID, Dec 13 2019 (IPS) – Haiti’s Environment Minister Joseph Jouthe has compared the climate emergency to a violent act and appealed to the international community for help to fight climate change.

“Climate change is a very big terror in Haiti. It’s very hard for us to deal with climate change,” Jouthe told IPS on the margins of the United Nations climate summit, the 25th Conference Of The Parties (COP25), in Madrid, Spain.

“Haiti is not responsible for what’s going on with climate change but we are suffering from it. We want better treatment from the international community.”

Jouthe said Haiti remains committed to strengthening its resilience to climate shocks and to contributing to the global effort to mitigate the phenomenon.

Haiti is pursuing a four-fold objective in relation to climate change:

  • promoting, at the level of all sectors and other ministries, a climate-smart national development;
  • creating a coherent response framework for country directions and actions to address the impacts of climate change;
  • promoting education on the environment and climate change as a real strategic lever to promote the emergence of environmental and climatic citizenship; and
  • putting in place a reliable measurement, reporting and verification system that can feed into the iterative planning processes of national climate change initiatives.

But Jouthe said the country simply cannot achieve these targets without financial help.

“In Haiti all the indicators are red. We have many projects but as you may know [The Caribbean Community] CARICOM doesn’t have enough funding to build projects,” he said.

Patrice Cineus, a young Haitian living in Quebec, said access to funding has been a perennial problem for Haiti.

But he believes Haiti is partly to blame for the seeming lack of inability to quickly receive financial help.

“Haiti, my country needs to build evidence-based policies, and this will make it easier to attract help from the international community,” Cineus told IPS.

“If we don’t have strong policies, it’s not possible. We need research within the country. We need innovative programmes within the country and then we can look for financial support and technical support.

“We cannot have access to funding because the projects we are submitting are not well done. We don’t use scientific data to build them. They are not done professionally,” Cineus added.

Cineus’ theory appears to be substantiated by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), which helps CARICOM member states address the issue of adaptation and climate change.

The centre’s Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie said since 2016, under an Italian programme, it is required to develop projects that would help countries adapt to different areas of climate change.

“One of the areas that we have been considering, and we spoke with Haiti, is to build resilience in terms of schools and shelters that can be used in the case of a disaster.

“Funds have been approved but, unfortunately, unlike the other member states where we have already implemented at least one, and some cases two, projects, we have not been able to get the projects in Haiti off the ground,” Leslie told IPS.

“Each time they have identified an area, when we go there the site is not a suitable site and then we have to start the process again.”

While Haiti waits for funding, Dr. Kénel Délusca, current head of mission of a technical assistance project, AP3C, of the Ministry of Environment and Environment and the European Union, said the country remains one of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change.

Scientists say extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods and droughts will become worse as the planet warms, and Island nations like Haiti are expected to be among the hardest hit by those and other impacts of a changing climate, like shoreline erosion.

“The marine environment is extremely important to the Haitian people. There are more than 8 million people living in coastal communities in Haiti,” Délusca told IPS.

“There are more or less 50,000 families whose activities are based on these specific ecosystems. In other words, this is a very important ecosystem for Haiti and different levels – at the economic level, at the cultural level, at the social level.”

Haiti is divided into 10 départements, and Délusca said nine of them are coastal. Additionally, he said the big cities of Haiti are all located within the coastal zone.

“These ecosystems are very strategic to the development of Haiti. The Haitians have a lot of activities that are based on the marine resources. We also develop some cultural and social activities that are based on these environments,” Délusca said.

For poor island countries like Haiti, studies show, the economic costs, infrastructural damage and loss of human life as a result of climate change is already overwhelming. And scientists expect it will only get worse.

Though Haiti’s greenhouse gas emissions amount cumulatively to less than 0.03 per cent of global carbon emissions, it is a full participant in the 2015 Paris climate agreement and has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by five percent by 2030.

 

 

 

 

http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/12/haitis-cry-help-climate-change-compared-act-violence-island-nation/

Haiti’s civil unrest reaches chaotic, disruptive point

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A girl stands at a Food for the Poor feeding center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where families receive meals or provisions to take home. (Courtesy of Food for the Poor)

The humanitarian situation in Haiti, dire even in normal times, has worsened in recent months because of violence on the streets, stalling work throughout the country that is performed by sisters and by church-based relief agencies who work with sister congregations.

“Since September, the political situation has become worse, and so nobody has been able to go into the city,” Sr. Denise Desil, mother general of the Little Sisters of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, a Haiti-based congregation, told GSR, referring to the capital of Port-au-Prince. The result, she said, is that sisters in her congregation are more or less “staying home” in the congregational motherhouse in nearby RivièreFroide because “we are not free to move out … it is not safe to travel.”

More than 40 people have been killed and dozens injured in the wake of street protests in Port-au-Prince and other major cities since September, the Associated Press reported.

“Obviously, everyone in Haiti is being seriously and adversely affected by the chaos,” said Sr. Marilyn Lacey, executive director of the humanitarian agency Mercy Beyond Borders and a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

Lacey told GSR her program funds scholarships for 174 girls in the Gros Morne area of northern Haiti and several more at universities in Port-au-Prince, but the students are unable to attend their schools.

“All schools have been shut down nationwide since early September,” she said.

The immediate cause of the protests, many of which have been peaceful, is unhappiness with the leadership of President Jovenel Moïse, a Haitian businessman who was a political neophyte when he was elected in 2016.

Charges of electoral fraud have dogged Moïse since the elections, and Moïse’s political opponents say his administration has not done enough to deal with long-standing problems of government corruption. They also say his government is mishandling Haiti’s already-struggling economy. His opponents are calling on the president to resign.

Moïse, who has vowed not to step down, has pleaded for national unity.

“The country is more than divided, the country is torn apart,” Moïse said late last month, as reported by The Associated Press.

The struggle between Moïse “and a surging opposition movement, which coupled with economic struggle and corruption have led to soaring prices of basic goods, crumbling healthcare facilities, and pushed the country to the brink of collapse,” the United Nations said Nov. 1. The U.N. noted that the majority of those killed died of gunshot wounds, 19 of those apparently “at the hands of security forces, and others by armed demonstrators or unknown perpetrators.”

Though there is a long history of political street protests in Haiti, the current challenge for day-to-day life in many Haitian cities is the paralyzing street violence, sometimes by gang members, say the sisters and others involved in humanitarian work.

The picture is grim in other ways.

“Costs for ordinary things like food and fuel have skyrocketed due to transport blockades. People hunker down in their homes, fearful of venturing out,” Lacey said. “Street gangs have stepped up their activity and power.”

Sr. Sissy Corr, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who works with its Notre Dame Mission Volunteers ministry, told GSR that the current protests have to be seen in the context of a yearlong unfolding of events, noting that frequent gunshots and roadblocks have been the norm since February, accompanied later in the year by crippling inflation. The “tipping point,” she said, came in late August, “when there was no fuel for generators and huge rises in the cost of gasoline.”

“There’s underlying fear,” she said. “You sense it in the air.”

Corr said she feels those putting up road blocks are “young guys wearing bandanas without jobs” who just want an opportunity for work so they can provide for their families. Overall, she said, Haitians now “are just hungry and scrapping by to get some money for food. They hunger for a better Haiti.”

The situation has frustrated sisters, who are used to conducting their ministry against great odds, Desil said. The challenges of security, travel and dealing with potential gang threats have stopped some work, such as teaching, she said, and slowed (though not fully halted) the sisters’ work in providing food for children in an orphanage in Artibonite in northern Haiti.

Desil said one sister in her congregation has not been able to get her needed diabetic medications. Long-term, she said, “we can’t live in this condition.”

Those involved in humanitarian ministry must try to figure out when they can eke out some work around those days when it is not possible to get around because of security worries.

“Protesters allow us free days such as Saturday and Sunday so that we can go out to buy food and medication,” said Korean Sr. Matthias Choi, who heads the Haiti mission of the Kkottongnae Sisters of Jesus, a South Korean congregation with a 30-year history of work in poor communities throughout the world. However, the situation on the streets often limits that work to serving elderly residents of a senior citizens’ village.

“It seems like the cycle has become three to five days of demonstrations and one to two days off,” she told GSR.

Though Choi said members of her congregation are not in any immediate danger, she said they have had to deal with shortages of rice; fuel, such as propane and diesel gas; gauze for wounds; milk for children; and medication.

Lacey said her organization’s staff members have had to fly from Port-au-Prince to Gonaives in northern Haiti, which is normally a three-hour drive, “since the main north-south highway has dozens of daily blockades at which you pay multiple bribes to pass, if lucky, or get robbed or attacked if unlucky.”

 

More life in the street’ with tenuous improvement

There are tentative signs that the situation might be improving.

Corr said an industrial-sized bakery she helps run in the city of Les Cayes closed in October because of the insecurity in the coastal city. But the facility was scheduled to reopen Nov. 26 because of availability of fuel and baking ingredients plus slightly improved security.

Corr left Haiti in September because of a death in the family and has not returned to Haiti since then. Interviewed by GSR from Florida, she said she hopes to return as soon as possible, though she is still concerned about safety.

“What’s changed?” she said. “I want to be prudent.”

The situation in Port-au-Prince has improved a bit since late November, said Sr. Annamma Augustine, an Indian Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. “There is more life in the street,” she said.

But Desil said she thinks the overall situation is not improving. Schools remain closed, people are afraid to go out, and gunmen are still shooting. “Things are not better,” she said. “We are tired of this situation.”

The situation is not uniformly dire across the country, but the effects of the stalemate are being felt everywhere.

Augustine told GSR that while the congregation has had to discontinue its ministries in Port-au-Prince for now, its ministries outside the capital are still running, including in the dioceses of Port-de-Paix in northern Haiti and Les Cayes in southern Haiti.

Work in and near Ouanaminthe, not far from the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in northern Haiti, continues, and the overall situation is stable, said Colombian Sr. Alexandra Bonilla Leonel, a member of the Sisters of St. John the Evangelist, also known as the Juanistas. However, the paralysis in major cities like Port-au-Prince is causing prices for food and other goods to rise, she said.

“The economic impact is being felt,” Leonel said.

Humanitarian efforts continue

Lacey and others are concerned about the effects of the situation long-term.

“It goes on and on. Protestors have one goal: Shut down the country until Moïses leaves. Meanwhile, of course, it is really hurting the common people the most,” she said.

Other humanitarian efforts continue doggedly despite serious challenges. In a Nov. 21 statement to GSR from the Florida-based humanitarian organization Food for the Poor, agency director Angel Aloma said, “Getting food out to the areas in the countryside has been a challenge. Our workers have been shot at, and in one case one of our drivers was injured.”

Some families have still been able to make it to a Food for the Poor feeding center in Port-au-Prince, he said.

“Even when our workers could not cook the usual meals, they would package up dry provisions such as beans and rice and give that to the hungry who were able to make it to the feeding center,” Aloma said.

In another case, the agency sent bags of rice and beans by boat to La Gonave Island, population 87,000, “which has been severely impacted by the unrest,” said agency spokeswoman Kathy Skipper. It was not possible to ship food and water from a port in Port-au-Prince because of security issues, she said, so the agency found someone with a private port.

“It has been challenging, and we have been saddened to see how long it has continued. But we have seen these cycles in Haiti before and we pray that soon it will be peaceful enough to return to our normal operations,” Aloma said.

Chris Bessey, the Haiti country director for Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, echoed those sentiments in an interview with GSR, saying, “We’re doing everything we can to keep things going.”

Though hopeful that the situation will change, Bessey said he sometimes worries it could “go on for months or years” if a political solution to the crisis is not found, noting that the “masses of people” are caught in the middle of a political struggle.

Bessey said he does not believe donors to CRS’s work in Haiti will give up on the country, saying there is a loyal donor base in the United States for work in Haiti.

“I know there is a strong connection [in the United States] with the people of Haiti,” he said, citing individual, organizational, diocesan and parish-to-parish ties.

Boyer Jean Odlin, a young professional who has been out of work since Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in 2016, is among those hoping for change.

He moved from the southern coastal city of Les Cayes to the island of Île-à-Vache in May in hopes of a better life. Though day-to-day life on the island is not as difficult as it is in the large cities like Port-au-Prince, Odlin told GSR that one example of the difficulties of life now in urban areas is that of armed gunmen stopping cars and demanding money, he said.

The only solution to the current political stalemate, he said, is to end the “fighting between the opposition and the government.” As it is now, he said, the situation in Haiti has become “unlivable. There is so much misery right now.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/world/ministry/news/haitis-civil-unrest-reaches-chaotic-disruptive-point?clickSource=email

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland, France set to block EU-Mercosur trade deal over Amazon

BED9A5E4-EE61-40A2-A8F5-85B8A0098FEBVast tracts of the Amazon jungle has burned and are being cleared by loggers and farmers in Novo Airao [Bruno Kelly/Reuters]

As wildfires rage through the Amazon, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and French President Emmanuel Macron have said they will vote against a trade deal between the European Union and South American trade bloc Mercosur unless Brazil takes action to protect the rainforest.

Varadkar said in a statement he was very concerned at the record levels of rainforest destruction, and said the Irish government would closely monitor Brazil’s environmental actions in the two years until the Mercosur deal is ratified

“There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments,” he said.

Macron, meanwhile, believes his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro lied to him on Brazil’s stance on climate change, and France will now join Ireland in blocking the trade deal between the EU and South American nations.

“Given the attitude of Brazil over the last weeks, the president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka [G20] summit [in June],” a French presidential official said on Friday, as a public row flared between the two leaders over wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

Brazil’s comments and policies over the past few weeks showed the right-wing Bolsonaro did not intend to respect obligations on climate change and also did not want to commit on concrete proposals to maintain biodiversity, said the official.

“Under these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur (Free Trade Agreement with the EU) as it stands,” the French official added.

About 500 protesters, many from the Extinction Rebellion climate strike group, blocked the road outside Brazil’s embassy in London on Friday morning, incensed at Bolsonaro’s lack of environmental protections.

“When we destroy elements of biodiversity, we cut the threads that hold everything together,” Farnan Ellwood of the University of the West of England told Al Jazeera. “Biodiversity is nature’s protection mechanism, its insurance policy.

“We need to stop using hardwood furniture, stop eating beef – because it’s the beef farming which is driving deforestation. The second thing is to recognise the world has changed – we simply cannot go back. But there is some good news; scientists are trying to rebuild the biodiversity. If we can put the fire out – literally and figuratively – and stop the decline, then we can try to restore some of these complex networks of biodiversity.”

Macron had tweeted on Thursday that fires burning in the Amazon amounted to an international crisis and should be discussed as a top priority when the G7 countries meet this weekend in France.
Bolsonaro then blasted Macron for having a “colonialist mentality”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined Macron’s call on Friday, and it looks likely to be a topic for discussion.

Vast tracts of the Amazon – often described as the lungs of the world – are currently ablaze in what is known as the burning season. Environmentalists have blamed deforestation for an increase in fires and accuse Bolsonaro of cutting protection of an area deemed crucial in combating climate change.

Varadkar said Bolsonaro’s effort to blame non-government environmental organisations for the fires was “Orwellian”.

Ireland and France will need other EU states to help form a blocking minority if it wants to kill the deal which was reached in June after 20 years of negotiations between the EU and the Mercosur countries – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

But the Irish government is under pressure to defend its beef farmers, already suffering from Britain’s looming EU exit and low prices, by seeking to ensure Mercosur countries do not flood the market with cheaper beef.

Bolsonaro has rejected what he calls foreign interference in Brazil’s affairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/ireland-block-eu-mercosur-trade-deal-amazon-fires-190823095908509.html

 

 

 

Church advocates: Latin Americans understand God’s presence in nature

Latin America photoMembers of a rescue team pray before working in a collapsed tailings dam owned by a mining company in Brumadinho, Brazil, Feb. 13, 2019. (Credit: CNS photo/Washington Alves, Reuters.)

By Barbara Fraser

LIMA, Peru – Throughout Latin America, people whose lives and land have been affected by industries that extract natural resources, such as mining or oil operations, find strength in their spirituality, church leaders say.

“In many communities, there is a profound bond between the people, as community, and the presence of God expressed in the land, the trees, the rivers,” said Moema Miranda, a lay Franciscan who heads the Churches and Mining Network in Latin America.

That understanding has become stronger since Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si’, “on Care for Our Common Home” in 2015.

“Pope Francis says that everything is interrelated, and that human beings have an intrinsic value” that is often overlooked in cases where mining companies come into conflict with local communities, Miranda said.

The most recent example was the collapse of a dam that sent a flood of toxic water and mud cascading through a valley in Brumadinho, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, Jan. 25.

The disaster at the Vale mining company’s Feijao Mine left more than 150 people confirmed dead and at least as many missing in what Brazilian Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte called “a criminal tragedy.”

“The bodies of the human and nonhuman victims remain buried and probably will never be found,” Miranda said at a Feb. 20 panel discussion, part of a workshop on extractive industries and spirituality organized by the Churches and Mining Network.

“This is not an isolated case,” she added, noting that the collapse of a similar dam at another mine owned by Vale, BHP Billiton and Samarco flooded the town of Bento Rodrigues in November 2015, killing 19 people and sending a cascade of polluted mud down the Doce River.

Viewing those disasters and others in light of Francis’s call to safeguard “our common home” leads people of faith to ask “what kind of house do we want to build in Latin America?” said Italian Scripture scholar Sandro Gallazzi, who works with the Brazilian Church’s Pastoral Land Commission in the northern city of Macapa.

Noting that the prefix “eco” comes from a Greek word meaning “house,” Gallazzi said economic decisions reflect “how the (home) should function.”

“The economy clearly favors the interests of a small minority of people at the cost of the suffering and exploitation of thousands upon thousands of people,” he said, echoing the pope’s words.

The economic boom that began in Latin America in the early 2000s spurred an expansion of mining and oil and gas concessions in the region, with governments saying the export of raw materials like minerals yielded revenues necessary for reducing poverty in their countries.

“But in many communities, people say, ‘I want my land, not to get money from it, but so I can continue to have clean water, or (they say) I am rich, I have a good life because I have forest. I’m not interested in (the company’s) money,’” Miranda said.

That has led to conflicts between mining companies and communities throughout the region.

In Peru, nearly two-thirds of the conflicts affecting communities involve environmental issues, said Javier Jahncke, executive secretary of Peru’s Muqui Network, part of the Churches and Mining Network.

Latin America’s mining regions tend to be places where people are affected by other violations of their rights, Miranda said. The areas are often home to small farmers and lack good transportation, education and health services.

The Churches and Mining Network, which began work in 2014, grew out of an awareness that “resistance in defense of life in general is grounded in spirituality,” she said.

The ecumenical network now includes about 70 religious communities and church groups in 15 countries.

The members engage in dialogue with bishops about issues related to mining and extractive industries, Miranda said. The network also provides training to people who live in communities affected by mining, to help them understand and defend their rights.

That activity is increasingly dangerous for grassroots leaders who protest the construction of mines, dams and other large-scale infrastructure projects, or the clearing of forests for industrial ranching and farming.

Global Witness, a London-based nonprofit organization that tracks violence against environmentalists, recorded 201 murders in 2017, of which 57 occurred in Brazil. That is also the country where Sister Dorothy Stang, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was killed in 2005 for defending the rights of small farmers against ranchers in a remote area of the Amazon.

Despite the political and economic power behind projects that threaten their lands, people say “we won’t leave this place,” Miranda said. What gives them strength, however, is “not just a rational principle – it is a profound connection to the place where you are, to which you belong, and a response to a cry that comes from the earth, but which is heard by God.”

 

 

 

 

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2019/02/25/church-advocates-latin-americans-understand-gods-presence-in-nature/

El Chapo drug trafficking trial: Mexican cartel boss found guilty

Drug photoEl Chapo twice escaped prison before his final capture in 2016. Photograph: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

The notorious cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán has been found guilty of 10 counts of drug trafficking, at the end of a three-month New York trial that featured dramatic testimony of prison escapes, gruesome killings and million-dollar political payoffs.

Guzmán, who rose from poverty in rural Mexico to build a drug empire worth billions of dollars, is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail.

The 61-year-old showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Jurors had spent six days weighing the evidence against Guzmán, including testimony from more than 50 witnesses. Once the jury left the room, he and his wife Emma Coronel, put their hands to their hearts and gave each other the thumbs up sign. His wife shed tears.

US district judge Brian Cogan lauded the jury’s meticulous attention to detail and the “remarkable” approach it took toward deliberations. Cogan said it made him “very proud to be an American”.

Guzmán is set to be sentenced on 25 June. He is expected to receive life without parole.

The trial afforded a glimpse into the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel, named for the Mexican state where Guzmán was born.

US prosecutors said he trafficked tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine into the United States over more than two decades, consolidating his power in Mexico through murders and wars with rival cartels.

Guzmán smuggled drugs into the US through secret tunnels, or hidden in tanker trucks, prosecutors said. The cartel would also conceal their cargo in the undercarriage of passenger cars and packed in rail cars passing through legitimate points of entry.

Witnesses testifying against Guzmán included former cartel lieutenants and a cocaine supplier who underwent plastic surgery to disguise his appearances. The court heard stories of Mexican workers getting contact highs while packing cocaine into thousands of jalapeño cans shipments that totaled 25 to 30 tons of cocaine worth $500m each year.

One cartel member turned government witness told of how Guzmán sometimes acted as his own hitman. The witness said Guzmán had kidnapped, beat and shot a man who had dared to work for another cartel. Guzmán then ordered his men to bury the victim while he was still alive.

In contrast to the weight of evidence presented by the prosecution, the defense case lasted just half an hour. Guzmán’s lawyers did not deny his crimes, instead arguing their client was a fall guy for government witnesses who were more evil than he was.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman urged the jury in closing arguments not to believe government witnesses who “lie, steal, cheat, deal drugs and kill people.”

Jurors spent six days weighing the charges against Guzmán, their deliberations complicated by the trial’s vast scope. The jury members, whose identities were kept secret, were tasked with making 53 decisions about whether prosecutors had proven different elements of the case.

The trial cast a harsh glare on the corruption that allowed the cartel to flourish. Colombian trafficker Alex Cifuentes caused a stir by testifying that former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100m bribe from Guzman. Peña Nieto denied it, but the allegation fit a theme: politicians, army commanders, police and prosecutors, all on the take.

The tension at times was cut by some of the trial’s sideshows, such as the sight of Guzmán and his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, showing up in matching burgundy velvet blazers in a gesture of solidarity.

One day a Chapo-size actor who played the kingpin in the TV series Narcos: Mexico came to watch, telling reporters that seeing the defendant flash him a smile was “surreal”.

While the trial was dominated by Guzmán’s persona as a near-mythical outlaw who carried a diamond-encrusted handgun, the jury never heard from Guzmán himself, except when he told the judge he wouldn’t testify.

But recordings of intercepted calls gave the court plenty of opportunity to hear Guzman speak.

“Amigo!” he said to a cartel distributor in Chicago. “Here at your service.”

One of the trial’s most memorable tales came from Guzmán’s then girlfriend Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez. Sanchez testified that she was in bed in a safe house with an on-the-run Guzmán in 2014, when Mexican marines started breaking down the door.

She said Guzmán led her to a trap door beneath a bathtub that opened up to a tunnel that allowed them to escape.

Asked what he was wearing, she replied: “He was naked. He took off running. He left us behind.”

Guzmán had staged escapes from jail in 2014 and 2001. In the earlier breakout Guzmán hid in a laundry bin before being escorted to a mountainside hideaway by corrupt police officers.

In 2014 Guzmán escaped from a high-security jail via a mile-long lighted tunnel on a motorcycle on rails.

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said the trial demonstrated the US government’s “tenacity and commitment to pursuing kingpins like Guzman”.

“This conviction serves as an irrefutable message to the kingpins that remain in Mexico, and those that aspire to be the next Chapo Guzmán, that eventually you will be apprehended and prosecuted,” Whitaker said.

Guzmán’s lawyers, meanwhile, said they would appeal the verdict.

“We were faced with extraordinary and unprecedented obstacles in defending Joaquin, including his detention in solitary confinement,” the lawyers said in a statement.

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/12/el-chapo-mexican-drug-kingpin-guilty-drug-trafficking

 

 

Five dead in Brazilian cathedral shooting, cathedral priest asks for prayer

killings photoCathedral of Our Lady of the Conception, Campinas, Brazil. Credit: Leticia Cardosa/wikimedia. CC BY 4.0 SA

Campinas, Brazil,(CNA).- A gunman killed at least four people people Tuesday, inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Conception in Campinas, Brazil. After opening fire inside the cathedral, the gunman took his own life.

The man entered the cathedral at the conclusion of a midday Mass on Dec. 11 and began firing, according to the Military Police of Campinas. In addition to those killed, at least four people were injured during the attack.

According to local fire department officials, the man was carrying two handguns, at least one of which was a .38 caliber revolver.

He reportedly committed suicide directly in front of the cathedral’s altar.

“At the end of the Mass, a person came in firing and took lives. Nobody could do anything,” the priest said.

Father Amauri Thomazzi, who celebrated Tuesday’s 12:15 Mass in the cathedral, published a video on his Facebook page, in which he requested prayer.

“To you, friends, I ask only that you pray for the [attacker]. He killed himself after the situation. He shot people and there were over 20 shots in here, then he killed himself. So we pray for him and for those who have been injured, there are some fatalities,” he said.

The names of the victims and the attacker have not yet been disclosed. On its Facebook page, the Archdiocese of Campinas also urged Catholics to pray.

“A shooting left at least five people dead and four others injured in the early afternoon of Tuesday, inside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Campinas, in the city center, according to information from the fire department. The motive is not yet known,” the Facebook post said.

“The cathedral remains closed for the care of the victims and the investigation of the police. Once we have more information, we will make it available. We count on the prayers of all in this moment of deep pain,” the post concluded.

Major Paulo Monteiro of the Campinas Fire Department told reporters that the motive for the crime is not yet known and that at the moment the main concern is the care of the survivors.

The wounded were taken to local hospitals; their condition has not been disclosed.

“Let us ask Our Lady Immaculate to intercede for this cathedral, for these people and for these families,” Thomazzi urged.
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/five-dead-in-brazilian-cathedral-shooting-cathedral-priest-asks-for-prayer-97639

Dominican Brother’s ashes to return to Amazonia

Henri Burin des Roziers - the lawyer of the landless
Dominican Brother Henri Burin des Roziers, nicknamed “the lawyer of the landless” wanted to “stay with his family.” (Photo by Paulo Amorin/AFP)

by Aglaé de Chalus, Rio de Janeiro
April 12, 2018
La Croix International

From the time of his arrival in Brazil in 1978, Brother Henri legally defended small farmers expelled from their lands and threatened by the powerful fazendeiros or large landowners in the Amazon region.

His ashes will now be handed over on April 14 to a camp community of 150 families of landless farmers. The community, which is named after him, is located at Curionopolis in Para, one of the largest states of Amazonia, where Brother Henri lived and worked for more than 35 years.

“We are organizing a simple, people-oriented ceremony,” said Dominican Brother Xavier Plassat, who coordinates the Land Pastoral Commission campaign against slave labor, Brother Henri’s other great battle.

Brother Xavier brought the ashes back with him from Paris, where Brother Henri had lived since 2015 and where he died aged 87 on Nov. 26, 2017.

The ecumenical celebration will be followed by a “political event” since conflicts and tensions are continuing to grow in Amazonia, Brother Xavier said.

The work of Brother Henri’s religious community, who like him have committed themselves to the struggles of the poorest people in Amazonia, has become increasingly difficult.

On March 27, the Catholic community in the region was shocked by the arrest of Father José Amaro Lopes de Souza, parish priest at Anapu in the Para and a member of the Land Pastoral Commission, on charges of criminal association, threats, extortion, pillage, money laundering and sexual aggression.

Father Amaro, who has received a succession of death threats since 2005, worked closely for several years with Dorothy Stang, the American missionary assassinated in 2005 by the fazendeiros.

“When Dorothy Stang started to support the farmers’ struggle, the fazendeiros decided to kill her,” the Land Pastoral Commission noted in a statement dismantling the evidence and testimony against the priest.

“All the indications now are that they have decided to change their strategy regarding Father Amaro,” the statement said.

“Instead of assassinating him, they have discovered a new way to demoralize Father Amaro by attacking his image and turning him into a criminal,” the Land Pastoral Commission said in the statement.

“The accusation makes no sense,” added Brother Xavier Plassat.

“A dozen fazendeiros got together and manipulated a couple of former landless farmers, who had to leave their camp for poor conduct and who seem to want to take revenge,” he said. “The whole thing is a farce.”

“Father Amaro has become the victim of defamation to delegitimize his work on behalf of the weakest,” said Bishop João Muniz Alves of Xingu, who heads the diocese where Anapu is located, and Retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler of Xingu in a letter.

The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, the French Catholic development agency, CCFD Terre Solidaire, several dioceses and pastoral centers in the region as well as many local social movements also condemned the arrest.

“There is a generalized climate of hatred of the people’s movements and those who support them,” said Brother Xavier Plassat.

This climate has worsened since the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, he said.

“There is a spirit of revenge on the side of these powerful groups, a desire to wipe out the victories of the 15 years of popular government,” he said.

“The church is caught up in this acrimony, even though the priests of Amazonia are far from all involved,” he added.

In 2007, three bishops from Amazonia, including Bishop Kräutler, were included in a list of ten religious to be eliminated.

Brother Henri was also on the list after having a price placed on his head during the year 2000.

For the next 15 years, he lived with two bodyguards.

In 2016, sixty-one people were killed in land conflicts in Brazil, according to the Land Pastoral Commission, 79 percent of which occurred in Amazonia.


Source: https://international.la-croix.com/news/dominican-brother-s-ashes-to-return-to-amazonia/7340