Tag Archives: Buenos Aires

The Tupamaros, Terrorists of Uruguay – Prelude


.Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Map of uruguay
Map of present-day Uruguay

 Guerrilla Warfare

Guerrilla war is a form of unconventional warfare in which members of an irregular military organization or a small group of armed civilians who rebel against the constituted government and carry out harassment and sabotage.

The Guerrillas use military tactics and mobility in concert with an overall political-military strategy to combat on a small-scale, a larger and less-mobile conventional military and police forces. The Guerrillas involve in petty hit-and-run tactics with constantly shifting attacks, ambushes, traps, sabotage, and terrorism.

The word “guerrilla” is derived from the Spanish “guerra” meaning war. It was first used to describe Spanish-Portuguese irregulars who helped drive Napoleon’s French army from the Iberian Peninsula in the early 19th century. In correct Spanish usage, a male member of a guerrilla is a guerrillero, and if female a guerrillera.

The term “guerrilla” was used in English in 1809 to describe combatants. Since then, in most languages guerrilla denotes the specific style of warfare – any war fought by irregular (if not civilian) troops using hit and run tactics fighting their own or an invading government.

The strategy of the guerrilla is to wear down their enemy (the government), until the enemy can be defeated in conventional battle or subject the enemy (the government) to so much military and political pressure that it sues for peace.

Irregular wars existed long before the Peninsular war and several such wars can be seen in the campaigns of Alexander the Great and the Romans. The end of the Second World War brought an upsurge in Guerrilla Warfare.

After World War II, the Colonial powers weakened and many saw their opportunity to acquire power. Some were successful, as with the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, while others, such as the communist guerrillas in Malaya met stiffer opposition from the British army in what was to become known as the “War of the Running Dogs.”

Even today, Guerrilla Warfare continues in many countries. The term “guerrilla” is gradually being replaced by the word “insurgent”, and its combating is termed COIN (Counterinsurgency).

Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan
Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan

The 5th century BC Chinese general Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC), a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician, was one of the first to write the theories of guerrilla warfare in his military treatise “The Art of War“.

Mao Zedong, First Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
Mao Zedong, First Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

The Art of War is often cited as having profoundly influenced Chairman Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) to respond with guerrilla tactics in the mountains in 1928. Mao said:

“We must not belittle the saying in the book of Sun Wu Tzu, the great military expert of ancient China, ‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a thousand battles without disaster.‘”

Mao has shown that a Guerrilla army could succeed in taking control of a country against the regular opposition. Other Communist revolutions, copied and extended his theories.

Guerilla warfare of Che Guevara inspired other Guerrilla outfits including the Tupamaros in Uruguay, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil insurgent outfits such as the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the various Naxalite groups in India that are mostly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Kashmiri ultras funded by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, and many other worldwide terror outfits.

The Urban Guerrilla Warfare

The use of guerrilla warfare in the city is not new. It is not a weapon used solely by the left. In Cyprus, General Grivas used this a form of guerrilla warfare to realize his dream of uniting a fascist Cyprus with a fascist Greece.

Since around 1968, urban guerrilla warfare has been used in Latin America, in Ireland, in Vietnam, in Northeast India, in Sri Lanka, etc., and emerged as a dominant form of armed struggle.

Tupamaros flag

A decisive factor was the emergence of the Uruguayan Tupamaros, the subject of this series of articles. Though the Tupamaros movement was squashed by outright military action, it set a standard for an intelligent violence unequaled in modern times except by the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Though there is no doubt about the flair, bravery and genius of the Tupamaros, there lingers doubts about their politics. The German strategist, Von Clausewitz, much admired by Lenin, wrote:

War is only the violent extension of politics; if the politics are wrong to start with, the war will probably go the same way.

Some scholars have contended that the Tupamaros should not be labeled as terrorists; instead they should be characterized as urban guerillas or merely organized criminals acting on behalf of the poor of Uruguay.

Writing in 1969, Marysa Gerassi claims, “The Tupamaros have achieved the first stages of their strategy without terrorism.” She says that the Tupamaros fought with the police only when they were forced to, and that they warned civilians before exploding their bombs.

Micahel Freeman in his book “The Consequences for Democracies Using Emergency Powers to Fight Terror”, wrote:

“Although the Tupamaros may have been ‘considerate’ in their attacks, violence in the form of bombings, kidnappings, and executions intended to frighten a population still constitutes terrorism. Importantly, recall that I do not define terrorism as violence directed only against civilian targets. Terrorists make no distinctions between the military and civilians; attacks on off-duty military personnel can terrorize as much as attacks on civilian targets. For example, the Tupamaros assassinated Emet Motto, a frigate captain, and Colonel Artigas Alvarez. the brother of the commander of the joint polite-army forces. These assassinations created a climate of terror in the security forces and may have led to their desire for a fast and vigorous response to fight terrorism.

This climate of fear was also prevalent in the civilian population. Alphonse Max, a Bulgarian writer of Flemish-German descent and General in Montevideo, wrote that, while in the early years, the Tupamaros

managed to retain an image of well-mannered, considerate, polite. friendly, humane and educated young men and women.., with the robbery at the Casino in Punta del Este and the shooting of policemen and innocent bystanders in ever-increasing numbers, the true picture emerged. The public saw the terrorists as cold-blooded, ruthless criminals, determined to achieve their objectives, however vague and contradictory by means of violence and terror and with utter disregard for the innocent lives they might take.”

The Tupamaros bombed military, police, business, and government buildings, kidnapped a variety of people, shot many policemen, and even searched policemen’s homes, taking their weapons and humiliating the officers in front of their families.

All of these actions made the Tupamaros terrorists. After 1968, the Tupamaros was much more aggressive in their attacks on the Uruguayan state, particularly President Pacheco’s government.

The Uruguyan Economist Arturo C. Porzecanski wrote:

“[after 1968] the Tupamaros began applying the full range of guerrilla tactics in accordance with their strategic scheme. Robberies of money and arms became a monthly and then a weekly event; political kidnapping was launched and repeatedly applied; propaganda actions were initiated and continued until, by the end of 1969, the existence of the urban guerrilla organization could escape no one and ‘Tupamaro’ became a household word.”

The Tupamaros became the role model for urban guerrillas in Europe and in Asia.

José Mujica

José Mujica - president of Uruguay
José Mujica – president of Uruguay

Do you know that José Mujica, the current president of Uruguay used to rob banks when he was young?

José Mujica was Minister of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries from 2005 to 2008 and a Senator afterwards. As the candidate of the Broad Front, Mujica won the 2009 presidential election and took office as president of Uruguay on March 1, 2010. Hailed as “the world’s ‘poorest’ president”, due to his austere lifestyle, José Mujica donates around 90 percent of his $12,000 (£7,500) monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.


Next   Part 1: The Beginnings




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A Short History of Uruguay – Part 2

. .Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

The Rt. Hon. Viscount William Carr Beresford (National Portrait Gallery, London.)
The Rt. Hon. Viscount William Carr Beresford (National Portrait Gallery, London.)

In early 19th century, the British, Spanish, Portuguese and other colonial forces fought for dominance in the Platine region. In 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), the British army attempted to seize Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

In April 1806, Admiral Hope Popham, without the express permission of the British government, launched an excursion with General William Beresford leading around 1,500 soldiers. The modest British troops landed near Quilmes on June 17, 1806. With Spanish forces tied up in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, the resistance was limited to untrained and poorly organized militia.

After overcoming limited resistance by untrained and poorly organized militia, the British troop advanced towards Buenos Aires. The Spanish viceroy Marquis Rafael de Sobremonte fled from Buones Aires to Córdoba with the city’s treasure, an act designed to protect the crown’s finances. But many in the town viewed his act as a betrayal and cowardice.

Ten days after disembarking, Beresford captured Buenos Aires on June 17, 1806, and hoisted the British flag above the fort on Plaza de Mayo. Then, he sent news of the British triumph to London which reached there ten weeks later. The Times on September 13, 1806, declared in a triumphant article: “Buenos Aires at this moment forms part of the British Empire.

General Beresford, proclaimed governor of the newly conquered territories, announced that he would allow the city to function as before. He offered full British protection to people “of all class” that swear loyalty to “His Majesty’s Government”. Some of the city elite, 58 in number, responded to Beresford’s call to sign allegiance to King George III. Some of them even hoped that the British would support the liberation of the region from Spain. However, Beresford, unsure exactly how to deal with the current situation decided to wait for reinforcements and instructions from London.

During this lull period the city’s 50,000 inhabitants realized the inconsequential size of the British force that invaded them. Driven by shame a counterattacking force of influential Spanish figures conspired to recruit and arm volunteer fighters.

Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, 6th Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (Art by Rafael del Villar)
Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, 6th Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (Art by Rafael del Villar)

An Argentine tradesman, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, did not believe that the British would help them become independent of Spain. He went to Montevideo and got an interview with governor Pascual Ruiz Huidobro. Huidobro authorized him to organize a resistance. Pueyrredón returned to Buenos Aires and secretly assembled a militia  composed of a ludicrous mix of Spanish soldiers, native Criollos, indigenous villagers, and black slaves at the Perdriel ranch outside the city.

At the end on July 1806, the British uncovered the plot. On August 1, 1806, General Beresford sent troops to attack Pueyrredón at his camp 20 km northwest of the city centre and easily dispersed the militia. Pueyrredón escaped to Colonia del Sacramento and joined Santiago de Liniers, a French emigrant serving as a naval officer for the Spanish.  Liniers recruited fighters from Montevideo.

A few days later, Pueyrredón’S ragtag militia joined the forces arriving from Colonia led by Santiago de Liniers.

Santiago de Liniers (Naval Museum of Madrid)
Santiago de Liniers (Naval Museum of Madrid)

On August 10, 1806, with an ever growing militia force Liniers sent a message to General Beresford, giving him 15 minutes to surrender or face “total destruction”.

“The high estimation of Your Excellency’s honour, the generosity of Spain, and the horror that the destruction of man inspires in humanity drives me to send Your Excellency this warning so that, given the danger you find yourself in, you advise me within precisely 15 minutes whether you are prepared to lead your troops to total destruction or surrender to a powerful enemy.”

General Beresford responded that he would defend himself “until prudent, to avoid whatever calamity may befall the people.”

Two days later, after being overwhelmed in ferocious street fighting, and having retreated back to the fort, Beresford raised a white flag.

William Gavin, a British soldier wrote about the British capitulation in his diary of the invasion, which is one of the few first-hand accounts that exist in English:

“Our position was commanded by the enemy, who occupied the tops of the houses and the great church… we were picked off at pleasure. After a conference between the General and an Aide-de-Camp of Liniers, we surrendered to the greatest set of ragamuffins ever collected together.”

After the reconquest of Buenos Aires Viceroy Sobremonte was stripped of his title, the city’s treasure that he took away was confiscated, and he was barred from entering the city.

Santiago de Liniers was hailed as a hero and was appointed as military general. Liniers, to repel future attacks, immediately set about forming a more organised and professional military force.

In late 1806, as part of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), the British army invaded the Río de la Plata Estuary to avenge Spain’s recapture of Buenos Aires from them. The 10,000-member British force captured and occupied Montevideo for a brief period from February to July 1807, when it left and moved against Buenos Aires, where it was soundly defeated.

In 1807, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, was sent as a representative of Buenos Aires to Spain. He returned in 1809 to Buenos Aires, to participate in the Independentist movement. The May Revolution of 1810 gave birth to the first local government junta and he was appointed governor of Córdoba. In 1812, he became the leader of the independent forces and a member of the short-lived First Triumvirate. From 1812 to 1815, he was exiled in San Luis.

In 1808, Spanish prestige weakened when Napoleon invaded Spain and installed his brother Joseph on the throne. The Cabildo of Montevideo, that remained nominally loyal to Ferdinand VII as the king of Spain, created an autonomous junta.

Montevideo’s military commander, Javier Elío, eventually persuaded the Spanish central junta to accept his control at Montevideo as independent of Buenos Aires.

In 1810 criollos (those born in America of Spanish parents) from Buenos Aires took the reins of government in that city and unseated the Spanish viceroy.

Independence struggle (1811–30)

Banda Oriental, or more fully Banda Oriental del Uruguay, was the name of the South American territories east of the Uruguay River and north of Río de la Plata, coinciding approximately with the modern nation of Uruguay, the modern Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul and some parts of Santa Catarina. It was the easternmost strip of land of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.

The population of the Banda Oriental was politically divided. The countryside favored recognizing Elío’s junta in Buenos Aires; the authorities in Montevideo wanted to retain a nominal allegiance to the Spanish king.

Artigas at the Citadel - a drawing by Juan Manuel Blanes (June 8, 1830 – April 15, 1901)
Artigas at the Citadel – a drawing by Juan Manuel Blanes (June 8, 1830 – April 15, 1901)

In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas, now a national hero of Uruguay, launched a successful revolution against the Spanish authorities and defeated them on May 18 at the Battle of Las Piedras.

In 1813, the new government in Buenos Aires convened a constituent assembly where Artigas emerged as a champion of federalism, demanding political and economic autonomy for each area, and for the Banda Oriental in particular. The assembly refused to seat the delegates from the Banda Oriental however, and Buenos Aires pursued a system based on unitary centralism. As a result, Artigas broke with Buenos Aires and besieged Montevideo, taking the city in early 1815.

When the troops from Buenos Aires withdrew, the Banda Oriental appointed its first autonomous government.

Artigas organized the Federal League under his protection, consisting of six provinces, four of which later became part of Argentina.

In 1816 a force of 10,000 Portuguese troops invaded the Banda Oriental from Brazil and took Montevideo in January 1817.

After nearly four more years of struggle Portuguese Brazil annexed the Banda Oriental as a province under the name of “Cisplatina“. Argentina claimed Montevideo first, but Brazil annexed it in 1821.

Juan Antonio Lavalleja (Source: biografiasyvidas.com)
Juan Antonio Lavalleja (Source: biografiasyvidas.com)

The Brazilian Empire became independent from Portugal in 1822. In response to the annexation, the Thirty-Three Orientals, led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, declared independence on 25 August 1825 supported by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (present-day Argentina). This led to the 500-day-long Cisplatine War. Neither side gained the upper hand.

In 1828 the Treaty of Montevideo, fostered by the United Kingdom, gave birth to Uruguay as an independent state. The nation’s first constitution was adopted on July 18, 1830.

 Previous – A Short History of Uruguay – Part 1



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A Short History of Uruguay – Part 1


.Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


While researching for a forthcoming series of articles on the Tupamaros, the urban guerrillas of Uruguay, I gathered many interesting extraneous materials about Uruguay, in South America. Here is my attempt at composing a short history of the formative years of that nation.

Map of uruguay
Map of present-day Uruguay

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It is bordered by Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southeast.

With an area of about 176,000 square kilometers (68,000 sq. miles), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America after Suriname.  As of July 2013, Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.3 million people of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo.

When compared with other Latin American countries, no significant vestiges of civilizations existed in the regions of contemporary Uruguay before the arrival of European settlers. Fossilized remnants dating back 10,000 years have been found in the north of the country, belonging to the Catalan and Cuareim cultures. They were probably hunters and gatherers. More people arrived in the region 4,000 years ago belonging the Charrúa, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní of Paraguay and the Tupí-Guaraní indigenous to regions in Brazil. Other, lesser indigenous groups in Uruguay included the Yaro, Chaná, and Bohane.

In the early sixteenth century, Spanish seamen were searching for the strait that linked the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. In 1516, Juan Díaz de Solís, a 16th century navigator and explorer, navigating in the name of Spain, inadvertently entered the Río de la Plata and discovered the region. The Charrúa Indians attacked the ship as soon as it arrived and killed everyone in the party except for one boy, rescued a decade later by Sebastian Cabot, an Englishman in the service of Spain.

In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese captain, cast anchor in a bay of the Río de la Plata at the site that would become Montevideo.

In 1535, Don Pedro de Mendoza y Luján (c. 1487 – June 23, 1537), a Spanish conquistador, soldier and explorer, sailed up the Río de la Plata and founded Buenos Aires on February 2, 1536 as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre (literally “City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds”) after Our Lady of Bonaria, Patroness Saint of Sardinia.

Mendoza founded a settlement in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city center.

Other expeditions reconnoitered the territory and its rivers.

Early colonizers were disappointed to find no gold or silver in the region. In 1603 Hernando Arias de Saavedra, the first Spanish governor of the Río de la Plata region, discovered the rich, well-irrigated pastures in the area and introduced the first cattle and horses which became a source of wealth in the region – a different kind of wealth. However, English and Portuguese inhabitants of the region, initiated an indiscriminate slaughter of cattle to get leather.

In 1624, the Spanish founded their first permanent settlement at Soriano on the Río Negro. Uruguay then became a zone of contention between the Spanish and the Portuguese empires.

In 1680, the Portuguese, expanded Brazil’s frontier by founding Colonia del Sacramento on the Río de la Plata. Seeking to limit Portugal’s expansion, Spain increased colonization of the region.

About 40 years later, in 1726, the Spanish monarch ordered construction of Fuerte de San José, a military fort at present-day Montevideo and founded San Felipe de Montevideo on this site making it the port and station of the Spanish fleet in the South Atlantic. The new settlement included families from Buenos Aires and the Canary Islands to whom the Spanish crown distributed plots and farms and later large haciendas in the interior. Authorities were appointed, and a cabildo (town council) was formed.

Montevideo is on a bay with a natural harbor suitable for large oceangoing vessels. This geographic advantage over Buenos Aires soon developed Montevideo into an important commercial center when salted beef began to be used to feed ship crews. This became the base of the future rivalry between the two cities. In 1776, establishment of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata with Buenos Aires as its capital aggravated this rivalry. Montevideo was authorized to trade directly with Spain instead of through Buenos Aires.

With the introduction of the slave trade to the southern part of the continent, Montevideo became a major commercial port of entry for slaves. Between the mid-eighteenth and the early nineteenth century, thousands of slaves were brought into Uruguay. Since livestock raising, the major economic activity in the region, was not labour intensive and the requirements of labour met by steadily increasing immigrants coming from Europe, the use for slaves in Uruguay itself was relatively low.

Because the region acted as a natural buffer region separating Spanish and Portuguese possessions, the Spanish to consolidate occupation of the territory, established new settlements throughout the eighteenth century. To combat smuggling, protect ranchers, and contain Indians, the Spanish formed a rural patrol force called the Blandengues Corps.

The Battle for Buenos Aires

Map of the Río de la Plata, between Argentina and Uruguay in South America.
Map of the Río de la Plata, between Argentina and Uruguay in South America.

In the mid 1770s, the British government had an idea of spawning a presence in ‘Hispanic America’ in the resource-rich region of the Río de la Plata for commercial benefits. They envisaged to weaken the Spanish empire by their presence in the region, and  prevent any French plans to do the same. High-level officials in London identified Buenos Aires as a strategic site to control the Río de la Plata estuary. With prevailing consensus at that time, the British thought the local populace would welcome British rule over the Spanish crown.

Next  A Short History of Uruguay – Part 2





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Pope Francis I: The Humble Pope Given to Us by God


Myself .

By T.V. Antony Raj


In the Catholic Church to choose a new pope, it is mandatory for every cardinal under the age of 80 to travel to Rome to take part in the secret conclave election process which begins with a mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by a procession to the Sistine Chapel.

Before the cardinals arrive, the Sistine Chapel goes through a comprehensive check or unauthorized microphones, recording or other communication devices. The phones of the cardinals are also blocked to prevent them from communicating with anyone about the election.

At the outset, the 115 cardinals participating in the election process this year took an oath of secrecy. After that the first voting process began. Each cardinal could cast one vote, except for himself. A candidate for the papacy must receive two-third of the total votes. This voting process continues with four voting sessions – two in the morning and two in the afternoon – for five consecutive days, or until the pope is chosen.

At the end of each voting session the smoke from the burned ballots billowing out of the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel reveals to the public the outcome of that voting session: black smoke to mean no consensus reached, and white smoke to announce the successful choice of a new Pope.


White smoke - Habemus Papam! / We have a Pope!
White smoke – Habemus Papam! / We have a Pope!


On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, white smoke appeared out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 7 pm Rome time. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of the deacons, appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and announced in Latin: “Habemus Papam!” (English: “We have a pope!”). Cardinal Tauran then revealed the pontiff’s birth name and the name he has chosen for himself as pope.


His Holiness, Pope Francis I
His Holiness, Pope Francis I


Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Jesuit, is the new pope of the Catholic Church. He has taken the name of Francis.

Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica said the new pontiff had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because the he was a lover of the poor. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a participant in the proceedings of the Conclave, confirmed that the new pope said, “I choose the name, Francis, in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi”.

This is the first time in papal history the name “Francis” used by a Pope, and the first time a serving Pope held a name unused by a predecessor since the brief reign of Pope Lando (also known as Landus) from July or August 913 until his death in February or March 914.

His Holiness, Pope Francis I, (though technically he can’t be called the first until there is a second pope Francis) is the first pope from the Americas. South America’s Catholics make up an estimated 40%, the largest regional following, of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church worldwide. He is a non-European.

“Non-European” can have two different meanings: ethnicity, and nationality. As in the U.S., many citizens of Argentina are descendants of immigrants, and most of them are of European descent. Pope Francis I, former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is an Argentine citizen. He was born in Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants of Piedmontese origin and hence is ethnically Italian. He grew up in the Argentine capital. His father, Mario José Bergoglio was a railway worker, and his mother Regina María Sivori, a housewife.

The Pope’s decision to pick the name “Francis” shows his simplicity and humility. His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor. He believes in social justice and living a simple lifestyle. Though he was the Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Argentina, he passed on the right to have a chauffeured limousine and instead used public transport. He lived in a small apartment eschewing a formal bishop’s palace and reportedly cooked his own meals.

Here are some points to ponder:

  • He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician.
  • He decided to become a priest at the age of 21.
  • He speaks Italian fluently, as well as Latin, Spanish, German, French, and English.
  • He is the first Jesuit Pope.
  • He has lived for more than 50 years with one functioning lung. His other lung was removed as a young man due to infection.
  • He washed and kissed the feet of Aids patients in a hospice in 2001.
  • He has opposed the legislation that allows same-sex marriage introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government.
  • He has served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.
  • He requested Argentinians not to spend money on travel to Rome to celebrate if he was appointed. He asked them to give that amount to the poor instead.
  • He is a conservative on Church doctrine. However, he has criticized priests who refuse to baptize children born to single mothers.
  • He opposes vulgar ideas such as gay marriage unlike some other heads of states.
  • He believes that condoms “can be permitted” to prevent sex-transmitted infection.
  • He once called abortion a “death sentence” for unborn children, during a speech on October 2, 2007. He said: “we are not in agreement with the death penalty, but in Argentina we have the death penalty.  A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
The shoes of Pope Francis
The shoes of Pope Francis

“Habemus Papam!” / “We have a pope!”



By T.V. Antony Raj


Pope Francis I - 3


On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, white smoke appeared out of the Sistine Chapel chimney shortly after 7 pm Rome time. French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of the deacons, from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica announced in Latin: “Habemus Papam!” (English: “We have a pope!“).

Cardinal Tauran then revealed the pontiff’s birth name and the name he has chosen for himself as pope.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Jesuit, is the new pope of the Catholic Church. He has taken the name of Francis.

Former Cardinal Bergoglio is the first Jesuit and the first Latin American elected Pope and the first non-European pope in 1200 years. Also, he is the first Pope to choose the name “Francis.”

Pope Francis I is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, elected on March 13, 2013.

He is known as a humble person who speaks for the poor and led an austere life in Buenos Aires. He was born to Italian immigrant parents on December 17, 1936, and grew up in the Argentine capital.

‘‘Brothers and sisters, good evening,’’ Pope Francis said in Italian from the white balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as thousands cheered joyously below. ”You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome.”

Pope Francis asked the audience: “pray for me, and we’ll see each other soon.”

The crowd shouted “Habemus papam!” in Latin waving umbrellas and flags. “We have a pope!” Others cried: “Viva il Papa!

“As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years – that in each other we see the face of God,” President Obama said in the message released by the White House. “As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.”

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
We praise thee, O God:
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.



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