- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

MEXICO

Hispanics desire Third World pope

MEXICO CITY — As cardinals rushed to the Vatican this week to start selecting a new pope, many back home were asking a pointed question: If most of the world’s Roman Catholics live in the developing world, why has every pope in the past 1,500 years been European?

The prospect that the next pope could come from Latin America, Africa or Asia is creating a buzz in the Americas. Many Latin American Catholics say the only way to improve on the papacy of the Polish John Paul II would be to select someone from their own ranks.

Their hopes have been boosted by sheer numbers: Half of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics live in Latin America. Many Catholics in poor countries said a pope from their regions would better understand the challenges they face.

CHILE

Insulza favored as new OAS chief

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza has the support of at least 10 of 14 voting member nations from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in his quest to become secretary-general of the Organization of American States, government officials say.

Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago all back Mr. Insulza for OAS leader. St. Kitts and Nevis also is expected to swing in his favor. Haiti, which also backs Mr. Insulza, will not vote because Caricom does not recognize its interim government.

Only two Caricom members, Belize and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said their vote will go to Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez, the officials said. Another candidate for OAS chief is former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores, supported by the United States.

CUBA

Mourning ordered for John Paul II

HAVANA — Cuba’s communist government ordered a three-day period of mourning after Pope John Paul II’s death Saturday, an unusual gesture of respect for a Roman Catholic leader whose 1998 visit helped thaw relations between church and state.

The decree signed by President Fidel Castro ordered all celebrations and sporting events suspended and described the pontiff as ?a personality of worldwide reach? and an ?indefatigable fighter for peace.?

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said: ?We have always seen Pope John Paul II and will always see him as a friend who was concerned for the poor, who fought neoliberalism and strove for peace.? Said Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino, 68, in a rare appearance on Cuban state television late Friday: ?His visit is unforgettable. It impacted us all.?

Weekly notes

Canada’s two main opposition parties said yesterday they have no plans for an immediate vote of no confidence in the minority Liberal government, under increasing fire over a cash-for-favors scandal. A public inquiry last week heard what newspapers called ?explosive? testimony from a leading figure in the affair, but spokesmen for both the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois said they would not call a motion of no confidence to Parliament. …Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will visit Japan Saturday through next Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and to attend the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting in Okinawa, the Foreign Ministry announced yesterday in Bogota. The IDB meeting starting Sunday at Ginowan is expected to focus on ways to expand trade and investment between Latin America and East Asia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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