Don’t Cry for Me Argentina: Pope Francis and Economic Populism…
Contrary to the protestations of Hollywood celebrities, Venezuela is simply the most advanced down the path of out-of-control inflation, price-controls, shortages of basic necessities (such as toilet paper), the systematic use of violence against regime critics, and complete contempt for rule of law.
The attitude of Latin American populist leaders to one institution they haven’t been able to dominate — the Catholic Church — varies. On the one hand, they’re regularly at odds with many Catholic bishops. In January 2015, a pastoral letter issued by Venezuela’s Catholic bishops courageously described their government’s policies as “totalitarian and centralist.”
The regime, the bishops added, seeks control “over all aspects of the lives of the citizens and public and private institutions. It also threatens freedom and the rights of persons and associations and has led to oppression and ruin in every country where it has been tried.”
The government’s reaction to this critique was the usual demagoguery. Nonetheless the same populist leaders regularly invoke Christian symbols to legitimize their ideologies. Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presentation of what’s now called “the communist crucifix” to Pope Francis is one such example.
Whatever the motives of the deceased priest who designed the cross, the fact that the hammer-and-sickle symbolizes philosophical materialism, police-states, and the mass imprisonment, torture and murder of millions of people counts for nothing in the rather provincial world of Latin American leftist-populism…
Read more: The Stream