- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2009


U.S. bishops meet counterparts

HAVANA | A delegation of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops is in Cuba to follow up on hurricane recovery projects funded by the church.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Fla., and Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio, Texas, arrived in Havana Monday. They are meeting with Cuban church leaders, including Cardinal Jaime Ortega. And they plan to visit parishes in Havana and the eastern cities of Holguin and Santago de Cuba this week.

The Cuban Catholic Church received more than $860,000 from U.S. churches after Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma struck the island last year. The storms left about 500,000 Cubans homeless, caused more than $10 billion in damage and devastated farms across Cuba.

The delegation, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, leaves Cuba on Friday.


Nixon discussed ousting Castro

Two years before the coup that toppled the leftist leader of Chile, President Richard Nixon and Brazilian President Emilio Medici discussed coordinated intervention in that nation and Cuba, according to a newly declassified document.

The formerly top secret account of a Dec. 9, 1971, White House Oval Office meeting spells out a desire by the U.S. and Brazilian presidents to foment the overthrow of leftist governments, especially those of Chile’s Salvador Allende and Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

Declassified in July, the memo is now part of the official history of U.S. foreign policy in a State Department series called “Foreign Relations of The United States.”

The National Security Archive, a private group, posted the document on its Web site Sunday.


Gunmen target foreign tourists

LIMA | Peruvian police say gunmen robbed 12 foreigners on an ecological tourism trip to the Manu nature reserve on a popular forest route.

Authorities say four robbers took an undetermined amount of cash, cameras and video equipment around noon Sunday but did not harm any of the victims. The incident occurred in the Tres Cruces area of the Cusco region, nearly 375 miles southeast of Lima.

The tour included seven Dutch citizens, two Americans, two Indonesians and an Australian.


Discount oil to continue

CARACAS | Venezuela said Sunday that no plans are being considered to require more money up front from poor Caribbean and Central American nations buying oil on preferential terms under its Petrocaribe program.

The secretariat of the Venezuelan oil pact said that any changes made to the deal’s terms would be “to the benefit of member countries.”

State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA released the statement days after Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said he hoped Venezuela would scale back a proposal to require more money up front.

Venezuela and Caribbean nations launched Petrocaribe in June 2005 as global oil prices skyrocketed and smaller countries were struggling to buy enough fuel to keep their economies afloat. The plan promotes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s vision of regional independence from the United States and has expanded to 18 nations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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