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CLODHOPPING WITH CLAUDE IN THE CARIBBEAN AND SOUTH AMERICA
CHILE'S CLARION CALL
  
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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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MEA CUBA, MEA CUBA, MEA MAXIMA CUBA (and Chile & Argentina) (Category: Chile and Argentina)

Claude, Carmen Gloria Montes and Claudio Orrego

A final reference to Cuba, on this posting, but the rest is about Chile and Argentina, and this posting is from Santiago Chile. My  55 postcards sent from Havana on February 13, arrived – 5 months later, if at all.  Perhaps mail officials are on meth. As for Chile, I arrived  in Santiago in mid-August to give lectures and conduct  seminars recent   political development and conflict resolution in East Africa – the part of Africa known as the Great Lakes Region (Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kivu Province of Congo. However, public attention these days centers far more on domestic issues and memories of the military dictatorship. Chile’s 9/11. 

Old friends from a past life at St. George’s College.  This photo was taken a few days ago at a celebration of the Best Georgians, the top graduates of the past 50 years, One graduate is selected each year, representing the best values of a Holy Cross education .With me is Claudio Orrego, Intendente of the City of Santiago (general coordinator and director of Satniago’s 23 municipalities). Claudio was Christian Democratic candidate for President, last year. His mother was my secretary when I was Rector of the college. Between us, Carmen Gloria Montes, who works as an educator for the city’s medical establishment. Her father preceded me as Rector of St. George’s  

 I just returned from Buenos Aires,  where I visited a friend, Quique de Marco. He helped me when I was writing my dissertation in the Buenos Aires in the 1970’s. I recommend a new movie from Argentina, Relatos Salvajes, (Wild Stories) by the  Argentinian director, Damian Szifrón. He is a young director who makes cynical, funny and dark movies. This one is as good as it gets. Wild Stories consists of 5 short episodes of different national characters and archetypes from contemporary Buenos Aires and rural, mountainous Argentina. It’s a wild introduction to a culture that knows how to celebrated life, and knows what degrades it as well.

 Some Chileans celebrate their national holidays with bombs (in metros and train stations). After the last bomb in one of Santiago’s major metro stations,  40 anarchist groups called to claim its authorship. Chileans grew accustomed to arbitrary bombs in the past (during the military dictatorship), but this is a new breed of anarchist, more mindless and cynical than in the past.

However, I think I am more likely to die from Chilean drivers – the insane ones – than from crude bombs planted by kinder-garden dropouts..  

 I recently visited Santiago’s MUSEUM OF MEMORY.  A small croud, mostly groups of school kids. It was a walk through personal memories for me, since I lived in Santiago when many of the documented atrocities took place.  Passionate indignation doesn’t That is also true of the violence that I witnessed in Argentina and Chile in the 1970s and 1980s.  The extreme military murderers of Chile and Argentina were responding (in God’s name) to the extreme civilian murderers of  the left in the same countries. Voltaire said that people are never more cruel than when they act in the name of religion. That observation seems as true as it was in Voltaire’s day.

 Four days after arriving in Santiago, I was jolted by an earthquake.  It was a 6.4 (Richter scale) earthquake. It’s not my first, but each one seems like the first time. My  Holy Cross colleagues urged me to stand in a doorway. The house bounced about and swayed for 2 minutes. It seemed much longer, more like 5 minutes.  For some reason, which no one can easily explain, the California quake (at the ssame time) which was much milder (6.0) did much more damage. Other than a few broken dishes and cracked windows, the Chilean quake did little damage. And Santiago has the tallest buildings in Latin America, 300 meters high (63 stories).  The owner has rented  part of Holy Cross property, next to St. George’s College. One of Santiago’s largest malls is planned for the near future. 

 More news to follow,  about my trip to Latin America, recent developments, student protests, conflicts with Peru and Bolivia, and news about St. George’s College and general education in Chile.  Ciao for now.


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