Catholic Abuse Scandal Hits Brazil; Chilean Church Asks Victims For Forgiveness

Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — A Brazilian priest accused of pedophilia and engaging in sexual conduct with boys as young as 12, was detained by police following a congressional hearing.

Msgr. Luiz Marques Barbosa, 83, was detained on Sunday after a TV station broadcast a video of him in bed with a 19-year old. Barbosa’s detention, along with other recent sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, made headlines throughout Brazil, which has the largest Roman Catholic population in the world.

Brazilian Sen. Magno Malta said that Barbosa’s detention and the subsequent investigation was not an attack on the Roman Catholic Church, but on child abuse. He claimed that Barbosa’s detention was a milestone in the fight against child abuse in Brazil.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit hard by sex scandals involving its clergy recently. In the past few weeks allegations against priests have arisen throughout Latin America, including in Uruguay, Mexico and Chile.

In Chile, the Church Tuesday acknowledged 20 confirmed or alleged cases of child abuse by priests and asked victims for their forgiveness.

Besides the predominately Catholic Latin America, allegations of abuse have also arose in throughout the world including in Germany, where it’s been suggested that Pope Benedict mishandled abuse cases as bishop before being named to the papacy.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

  • In the wake of a report criticizing 287(g) and similar programs that deputize local officials to enforce federal immigration law, we wondered what supporters of these programs consider their biggest successes. So Alison Bowen asked around to find out who’s been detained and deported in these programs. She contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which trains the officers, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies, both groups that support 287(g). Read the latest post at her blog Beyond Borders to find out what they told her.
  • Political analyst Claudia López took some time to discuss paramilitary politics in Colombia with The Latin America News Dispatch after her recent talk at New York University. Watch the newscast here.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A taco vendor in Salt Lake City was stabbed after his assailant learned he was Guatemalan.
  • A Mexican citizen plans to sue the Roman Catholic cardinals in Mexico City over an allegation that in the 1980s they moved an alleged pedophile priest from Mexico to the United States.
  • A man, whom border authorities shot at after he allegedly attempted to flee inspections, is a suspect in a string of robberies in the Denver, Colorado area.


  • The Puerto Rican government announced that it will invalidate all birth certificates issued before this summer in order to curb fraud. The decision means that more than 40 million Puerto Ricans, including 1.2 who reside in the U.S., will have to apply for new documents.
  • The head of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, asked the Cuban government to release political prisoners who are sick. (Spanish)
  • The U.S. military is scheduled to end its disaster relief mission in Haiti in June. There are currently about 2,000 U.S. troops in Haiti, down from over 22,000 in Feb.

Central America

  • A group backed by the United Nations working to eradicate illegal security groups who violate human rights in Guatemala has been successful, and its mandate should be strengthened to cover corruption and organized crime.
  • Nine months after the Honduran coup that overthrew Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, the country is still isolated, and remains outside SICA, The Central American Integration System. Only about 30 countries worldwide officially recognize the administration of right-wing President Porfirio Lobo.
  • Costa Rica inaugurated a new wind farm in the Guanacaste region. Costa Rica already covers about 80 percent of its energy demand with hydro and geothermal power.


  • A Colombian general and five other members of the country’s military died in a helicopter collision on Tuesday.
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Colombia could be a serious threat to its neighbors if presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos wins the presidential elections.
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales said that eating chicken will cause men to lose their hair and virility, due to the female hormones injected in them.

Southern Cone

  • Brazil awarded a contract Tuesday to build and operate a hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. The contract represents a major defeat for environmentalists and local indigenous people, who will be negatively affected by the dam.
  • Brazil will delay imposing trade sanctions against products made in the United States for 60 days during settlement negotiations over cotton subsidies.
  • Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 yeas in prison. A tribunal ruled that Bignone shared responsibility in 56 cases of torture, break-ins, and illegal detentions in the Campo de Mayo military base between 1976-1983.
  • The International Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that Uruguay met its underlying obligations regarding a paper mill built on a shared border with Argentina, and rejected Argentina’s request that the $1.1 billion plant be dismantled.
  • Chile’s Central Bank said that the Chilean government’s plan to spend $8.4 billion on earthquake reconstruction is “balanced” and consistent with the Central Banks views.

Image: sam_herd @ Flickr.

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