“Las monjas se van a enojar con Obama” for spying on Pope Francis

I hope that they didn’t tell President Obama about this one:

“The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.”

My guess is that the White House will distance President Obama from this.

It’s one thing to get the Germans or the Europeans angry.  It’s quite another thing to spy on the Pope before he became Pope.

This is not going to go down well with Catholic nuns!  Watch for the nuns to lineup outside the White House ready to slap President Obama’s hands.

Let me tell you something from personal experience.  There is nothing more scary in the planet than an angry nun with a ruler!

P.S. By the way, I miss Alvarez-Guedes on days like this one!  Can you imagine what he would say about the President of the US spying on a bishop waiting to become Pope?


The Young Negro and the Pope

From the incomparable Paquito D’Rivera:

The Young Negro and the Pope

A few days ago, a young and brave black Cuban named Andres Carrión Alvarez, –the only member of the Union Patriotica de Cuba (UNPACU) who evaded detention from the Cuban political police–,screamed “Down with Communism!” just in front of the Pope Benedict XVI’s podium, during his mass in Santiago de Cuba.  Almost immediately, secret agents in plain clothes mixed with the crowd, violently arrested Carrion in front of the Pope and his entourage.  Several cameras followed him while a gang of policemen and even members of the Cuban Red Cross brutally beat the young man with his hands securely tied to his back.

In (almost) any other nation around the world, such a deplorable action would be absolutely unacceptable.  Up to this day, Carrión remains in custody and incommunicado, so we’re still waiting for some leaders of the African-American community to express some kind of commentary about such an arbitrary and repressive–yet common– behavior by the Cuban authorities.  I wonder what would be the reaction of said community in case this black youngster would be of some other nationality.  We’d also love to know where the Obamas, Glovers, Sharptons, Reverend Jacksons and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are when Afro-Cubans need them?

Paquito D’Rivera

Thanks to Paquito and  La Voz de Cuba Libre.

Home stretch for Pope petition signatures

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have signed the One Cuba petition to Pope Benedict XVI, which asks that he make time on his trip to Cuba to meet with human rights activists, independent journalists and other civil society leaders while he’s on the island.

As all Babalu readers know, the papal visit is just around the corner… and the Pope doesn’t travel on Cuban time.

That’s why we need your help in these lat moments before our deadline to turn in sugnatures. We have a way to get this document and all of the signatures that come with it into helpful hands, but to ensure that we get your signature to the Pope and his delegation, we need it on there ASAP.

As more signatures come in (through this form, which you should sign now if you haven’t already), we will attempt to continue sending updated lists to all our contacts who might be able to put them in front of the right people… but our first shot at a sure thing is the next two hours or so.

Again, my friends Keith Fernandez, Giancarlo Sopo and I are grateful not only to Babalu’s bloggers and readers, but also to the broad and diverse group of people who have backed the petition campaign to this point. We hope that, whatever One Cuba becomes in the wake of the Pope’s visit, it’s something that continues to reflect points of consensus among the Cuban community in Cuba and around the world.  As you might know, Babalu’s are not the only bloggers who have helped us spread the word… We’ve also gotten tweets from journalists abroad, like Havana’s own Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, who took time to tell his followers to sign this petition on his breaks from bringing us news about harassment of Porno Para Ricardo member Ciro and grafitti artist El Sixto.

Related: Check out this interview I did a couple of nights ago with Duane Lester of All American Blogger.

A special thanks to fellow Babalu bloggers Carlos and Alberto for being gracious enough to offer quotes and extra public support for the project:

Endorsement - Pope Petition - Alberto de la Cruz

Endorsement - Pope Petition - Carlos Eire