Reading the morning newspapers in Buenos Aires many of us were astonished to hear that the Church was mediating between Argentine President Mauricio Macri, and a ‘revolutionary’ political organization leaders that call themselves Tupac Amaru after the name of an indigenous leader of a rebellion against Spanish colonial rule. Tupac Amaru was in fact the last Inca Emperor or ‘Sapa Inca.’ He was eventually captured by the Spaniards along with several of his generals. The trial of the Sapa Inca was pretty much a kangaroo trial. Tupac Amaru was convicted of the murder of some Catholic priests in Vilcabamba and sentenced to be beheaded. Various trusted sources report that numerous Catholic clerics, convinced of Tupac Amaru’s innocence, pleaded on their knees to Viceroy Francisco de Toledo for the Inca’s release. In the end Tupac and his generals were executed. His last words before being hanged were: “Mother Earth, witness how my enemies shed my blood.” The Incas ruled their empire of slaves with an iron fist. Merely glancing at the face of the Inca was enough reason to condemn the poor curious commoner to death. After many generations of the vilest oppression, liberation came riding the Spanish horses. Atahualpa, the last to rule over the full empire was killed after paying a huge ransom in gold. Tupac, his nephew was the last king of the Inca family.
The Tupac Amaru movement of today is what we call a movement for the rights and progress of the indigenous people in northeastern Argentina. For all I know they are no friends of the Catholic Church but practice the ancient aboriginal religions. The person they are interceding for is Milagro Sala, a woman activist known for her frequent tirades inciting violence and mayhem. During the last Peronist administration, Milagro enjoyed nearly absolute immunity, raising lots of money by dubious schemes involving federal funds, allegedly shaking local merchants, and forcing people to enroll in her movement. She is suspected of involvement in various murders. When the new governor of her province took power, he refused to continue dishing millions into the unaccounted pockets of Milagro. In response she began attacking the government with a number of the usual tactics but the strategy backfired and landed her in jail on a strong presumption of various criminal activities. Her lawyers tried to post bail to no avail. Milagro is now in the can for the foreseeable future.
It is remarkable that the Church, some say even Pope Francis, has taken interest in the case and it is now mediating between the Argentine central government and the leaders of Tupac Amaru. Why do I say that? We know that all kinds of disorder flourished in Argentina during the Kirchner era. The Church was then far from silent. The then Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio was often at the forefront demanding the government to do something about the poor. Of course, it was the government’s awful incompetence what was creating thousands of poor people month after month, so the vehement (and futile) complaints of Cardinal Bergoglio were ignored or rebuffed. In certain provinces like Santiago, Chaco, and Formosa problems like malnutrition and outright starvation began to appear in the news. The government did nothing. We hope the new administration will begin to address the issue but even so it will be too late for the dead children that could have enjoyed a good meal a day for years for the cost of one of the señora presidenta’s Louis Vutton handbags and matching shoes. C’est la vie under Peronist rule, lots of talk from the balcony, lots of fashion and regalia but little food on the table except for the pre-election bags of goodies to buy poor people’s votes.
All of that is over now and the Church wants to help poor Milagro, who allegedly fed on the poor like a vampire through various corruption schemes. There was no such allowance for Cuban dissidents during the last Papal visit to the island of communist enchantment, and I don’t hear much about the political prisoners like Leopoldo López held by Magilla Maduro in Venezuela.
Remember my plea to Pope Francis, a few years ago? There I asked the Pope to see if something could be done to help an innocent priest, Fr Gordon MacRae who has been suffering in prison due to a false accusation followed by another kangaroo trial in the Courts of the State of New Hampshire, United States of Mom and Apple Pie. I have no means to know if something was actually done behind the scenes but I was allowed to see a letter sent by some Vatican bureaucrat to Fr MacRae. Not much more than a “hang in there, buddy” written in a more or less official tone (in German!)
How come a scoundrel like Milagro Sala gets the Church machinery moving, while a most obviously innocent priest gets hardly any attention at all? I am just asking respectfully, I was a prisoner once in my youth. That gives me some rights.
A question that will remain unanswered in our new church so preoccupied with the dark “existential peripheries” of human experience. Such experiences appear not to be all equal. Allow me to paraphrase Orwell; may be some “are more equal than others.”