Article by Conrad Black
'All of this raises some interesting perspectives on the Latin American policy of Pope Francis, the first pope from that region. Francis badly disappointed his co-religionists by his failure, in his recent visit to Cuba, to insist on meeting the Ladies in White or to give any other solace to the democratic opposition to the Stalinist Castro dictatorship of nearly 57 years. His almost indiscriminate railings against capitalism when he is in Latin America, dipping to scatology in reflections about “the devil’s dung,” are irritating and bad public policy, since economic growth is the only way to eradicate poverty. But a heavy application of Christian generosity can perhaps excuse his more provocative reflections because of his discomfort in navigating between the atheist Left in Latin America and the loss in membership his Church has suffered from the evangelical Christians, who are unencumbered by the baggage of complicity in the atrocities of the Spanish and Portuguese colonists and the cynical corruption of the post-Bolívar juntas right up to recent times. But the pope’s apparent indifference to the virtues of human rights in Cuba, while visiting a decrepit and almost Struldbrug despotism, one that needs him far more than he needs it, is a serious embarrassment to the Roman Catholic Church and a disappointment to all who wish success for this often inspiring pope. The defeat of the far Left in Latin America can be reasonably assumed, as it has never succeeded anywhere and is anathema in what remains, Catholic and Protestant, a very Christian civilization.
The collapse of the medium-hard Left seems likely to come in a democratic thunderclap in Brazil, and it is difficult to see where a far-Left regime has much likelihood of surviving in Latin America in five years, apart, perhaps, from Bolivia and one or two little countries in Central America. Opposite the evangelicals, Francis has made his apologies for his Church’s complicity in odious regimes of the past, and Rome enjoys all the intellectual, material, organizational, and legitimist advantages it has generally deployed against schismatic Christian groups from the Counter-Reformation onward.'