A growing number of clerical sexual abuse survivors are coming forward in Latin America

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>A growing number of clerical sexual abuse survivors are coming forward in Latin America

Latin America may become the next region to expose childhood clerical sexual abuse. Some victims have spent decades without coming forward because of the importance given to clergy in the community. But a growing number of people are creating support networks for survivors.

The WorldApril 25, 2022 · 12:30 PM EDT

Eneas Espinoza says he was sexually abused multiple times when he was a child, by several catholic priests in Chile. He became an activist and founded Chile’s Survivors Network.

Courtesy of Juan Pablo Barrientos

It has been two decades since widespread child abuse in the Catholic Church was first exposed in the United States. Similar scandals have erupted since in North America, Oceania and, most recently, in Europe.

Now, a growing number of survivors from Latin America — home to the world’s largest Catholic population — are coming forward and taking legal action against Catholic bishops and priests.

One of them is Eneas Espinoza, a 49-year-old activist from Chile.

He was 5 years old when he started attending a Catholic school run by Marist Brothers in Santiago, the capital of Chile. Shortly after, he said one of the priests named Adolfo Fuentes Corral molested him. That was the first of a series of abuses that continued over the course of three years, until Fuentes Corral was transferred to another school in a different city.

"These priests were seen as respected, powerful, even divine people within my family."

Eneas Espinoza, sexual abuse victim and activist from Chile

“I was so confused,” he said. “Because these priests were seen as respected, powerful, even divine people within my family. They didn’t look like traditional abusers,” he said.

Related: Gruesome boarding school discovery forces Canada to reckon with its cultural genocide history

Eneas Espinoza is a 49-year-old activist from Chile who experienced clerical sexual abuse as a child.


Courtesy of Juan Pablo Barrientos

Espinoza did not share his experience with anyone at that time, and continued to attend the school for seven more years. But three years later, he was sexually abused again by another priest named Cristian Precht.

It took Espinoza four decades to come forward and tell his story.

“It was when I learned that I would be the dad of a baby boy. That [struck] me, and I knew I couldn’t contain this secret anymore.”

Espinoza said that the taboo around speaking out against child sexual abuse, especially if it involves the church, is a huge barrier for survivors in Latin America.

“My mom used to work as a volunteer for the Marist brothers,” he said. “So, I would keep hearing the name of the abuser at home, even after I finished school, he would call my mom and send greetings to me.”

Espinoza founded Chile's Survivors Network to support others who have experienced child sexual abuse by Chilean institutions, including the Catholic Church.

Members of this group met with Pope Francis in 2018 when he visited the country. The Argentinian Pope apologized to the victims and promised a formal investigation, but no one has been held to account so far.

Espinoza said his abusers are all free.

Cristian Pretch was expelled from the church by the Pope in 2018, but he has not been prosecuted. Adolfo Fuentes Corral continued to be a Catholic priest, and eventually was transferred to Peru, he said.

Moving a priest to a different city or country has been a common practice used by the Catholic Church to conceal this type of crime, according to Victor Sande, campaign coordinator for the Child Rights International Network in the United Kingdom. The group published a report that documents over 1,000 cases across 19 countries in Latin America.

Related: What the debate over Biden receiving Communion may mean for the world

It’s difficult to estimate the scale of the problem, according to Sande, because many cases go unreported. He said there are huge barriers for survivors in Latin America to come forward and find justice.

"Government decisions might be influenced by not wanting to create any tension between the church and the state.”

Victor Sande, campaign coordinator, Child Rights International Network in the UK

“The separation between the church and the state doesn't exist so much in Latin America,” he said. “So, government decisions might be influenced by not wanting to create any tension between the church and the state.”

Sande said another big obstacle for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in accessing justice in Latin America is the statutes of limitations for these types of crimes. In Venezuela, they must be reported within 10 years.

That was a problem for José Leonardo Araujo, 33.

He is among the first survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Venezuela to speak publicly about his experience. After dealing with major depression for years, he finally felt emotionally ready to take legal action — 17 years after the abuse took place. But the time had expired for him to seek justice.

Araujo’s abuser was not held accountable and was transferred to Mexico where, he said, he continued to sexually abuse other people.

Related: COVID downward spiral in Latin America disrupts life-saving services

Araujo said that in Venezuela, there is not enough support for victims of child sexual abuse.

“All I found was an organization that helps victims of domestic violence, but that wasn’t exactly my case, so I felt like I didn’t quite fit in there," he said.

He is hoping that more victims mobilize and come forward.

José Leonardo Araujo is among the first survivors of clerical sexual abuse in Venezuela to speak publicly about his experience. He moved to Mexico where he found a better support system for victims.


Courtesy of José Leonardo Araujo

“In Venezuela, people have been dealing with other urgent problems like food shortages, hyperinflation and political repression,” he said. “So, conversations about sexual abuse or domestic violence have not been a priority for politicians.”

Araujo moved to Mexico, one of the few countries where authorities are finally discussing whether a statute of limitations should continue to apply to cases of child sexual abuse.

He is in contact with other victims of the same abuser, and they are all hoping to find justice. But with so many obstacles, some are skeptical that cases will ever be prosecuted.

“Something that often happens is that the church will announce its own commission of inquiry,” Sande, the campaign coordinator, said. “This is a tactic arguably to deflect attention from inquiries by a government or a law firm. And it's also a way of keeping control of the discussion and the facts.”

For Sande, international media could be instrumental in exposing the truth, because they help influence the national coverage in different countries.

Related: Chile has a growing Muslim community — but few know about it

“You often have news organizations in Latin America, which for whatever reason, whether it's [a] lack of resources or not wanting to challenge the church, won't investigate clerical abuse cases in depth.”

Last month, the Spanish newspaper El Pais announced the first-ever investigation into claims of abuse within the Catholic Church in Latin America.

It created an email address for survivors to send their claims. So far, they are digging into more than 1,000 allegations.

The incentive is giving some hope to survivors like Eneas Espinoza, who think Latin America could become the next region globally to witness mass revelations of clerical sexual abuse.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry accused the West of blackmailing Latin America because of Russia

MFA: West puts pressure on Latin American countries, hindering cooperation with Russia alt=”The Foreign Ministry accused the West of blackmailing Latin America because of Russia” />

View of the building of the Russian Foreign Ministry

Russia is ready to cooperate with Latin America after the departure of American and European companies, but the West is putting pressure on countries region. This was stated by the director of the Latin American Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Shchetinin, in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“Latin Americans are under powerful pressure from the collective West, which uses the entire arsenal of means for this, and political influence, and economic messages, and blackmail»,— said the diplomat.

Schetinin noted that the authorities of Western countries do not take into account the socio-economic consequences of sanctions against Russia in the energy, financial and food sectors.

On March 5, American officials held talks with representatives of Venezuela. As sources told The New York Times, they tried to urge the country's leadership to distance themselves from Russia against the background of the military operation in Ukraine.

Later, a group of US senators sent a letter to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urging Russia to be stripped of its permanent observer status with the Organization of American States (OAS) in connection with the situation in Ukraine. The OAS includes the countries of North and South America, with the exception of Cuba and Venezuela. About 70 countries act as observers in the organization, including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia and others.

Read on RBC Pro Pro The fallen giant: how the new CEO revives Intel after ten years of mistakes takes root in Russia Articles Pro Will developers save preferential mortgages and buy their shares Forecasts Pro The conflict in Ukraine will hit the wheat market. Which stocks to choose Articles Pro “The bomb is ticking louder.” Should I Buy Fertilizer Stocks Predictions Pro x The Economist What happened in Sri Lanka: how the country is mired in debt and crisis Articles

Then the Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said that the senators were trying to sow discord between Russia and the countries of Latin America. Their proposal was a manifestation of the Monroe Doctrine, the official said. According to Antonov, it is based on US neglect of the interests of Latin American states and the desire to impose its will.

The “Monroe Doctrine” formulated by the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, in a message to Congress in 1823. The main idea— inadmissibility of involvement of the countries of the Western Hemisphere in the conflicts of European states.

Источник rbc.ru

WHO approves vaccine launched in Latin America

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved for emergency use the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is licensed jointly produced by Argentina and Mexico.

An international organization first approved a drug for coronavirus, which is produced in Latin America. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said this on Twitter.

“Adding it to the WHO emergency list will increase the availability of vaccines during a pandemic,” & mdash; said in a statement by PAHO.

The British-Swedish vaccine AstraZeneca is licensed by the Argentinean pharmaceutical company mAbxience. The Mexican Laboratorios Liomont is engaged in the packaging of the drug. The vaccine is being used in Latin America and the Caribbean. & Nbsp;

'International support [from WHO] shows that Latin America and the Caribbean can contribute to the global supply of vaccines, which is key moment in bridging existing gaps in access to immunization '', & mdash; said PAHO director Carissa Etienne.

Earlier it became known that Argentina donated 1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Bolivia.

Источник aif.ru

Discussion: Children’s mental health during COVID

class=”MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>Discussion: Children's mental health during COVIDNovember 24, 2021 · 1:45 PM EST Updated on Nov. 24, 2021 · 1:45 PM EST

Children play with a therapist in the pediatric unit of the Robert Debre hospital, in Paris, France, March 2, 2021.

Christophe Ena/AP/File photo

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on populations across the globe. And for children, the past two years have been a significant part of their young lives, affecting everything from their social interactions to their physical and mental wellbeing.

UNICEF did an analysis of various studies on the mental health of tens of thousands of children and adolescents across 22 mostly high and upper middle-income countries — between November 2019 and November 2020 — and found “higher levels of depression, fear, anxiety, anger, irritability, negativity, conduct disorder, alcohol and substance use and sedentary behaviors, compared with pre-pandemic rates.”

Certain coping strategies, including having daily routines and regular physical activity, have helped buffer against depression and were associated with better moods. Good communication with loved ones also helped manage pandemic stressors and lockdowns.

Related discussion:A deepening coronavirus crisis in Latin America

Another factor that’s contributed to mental health pressures on households is financial insecurity. “Millions more families have been pushed into poverty, unable to make ends meet," UNICEF revealed in its own report published in October. "Child labor, abuse and gender-based violence are on the rise,” while investment in necessary resources “remains negligible.”

The report added that the coronavirus pandemic "has created serious concerns about the mental health of children and their families during lockdowns, and it has illustrated in the starkest light how events in the wider world can affect the world inside our heads," as well as highlighting "the fragility of support systems for mental health in many countries, and it has – once again – underlined how these hardships fall disproportionately on the most disadvantaged communities." It went on to add that the specific impacts of the pandemic on mental health could take years to be fully assessed.

Related discussion: A deepening coronavirus crisis in Brazil

An information sign is displayed as a child arrives with her parent to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11-years-old at London Middle School in Wheeling, Ill., Nov. 17, 2021.


Nam Y. Huh/AP/File photo

In the US, parents, teachers and other caretakers have tried to find creative ways to address the needs of children.

More than 20 public school districts have extended their Thanksgiving holiday breaks to include "wellness days" for their students and staff, giving them a chance to reconnect and recharge.

Earlier this month, on Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, for children in the US between the ages of 5 and 11. The move allowed for more flexibility for kids to safely resume school and social activities.

Some American schools even used the windfall of federal coronavirus relief money to expand their capacity to address students’ mental health struggles, including problems like absenteeism, behavioral issues, and quieter signs of distress.

As part of The World's regular series of conversations about the pandemic, reporter Elana Gordon will moderate a discussion with Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Monday, Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. Eastern time, to discuss these efforts and the challenges surrounding the mental health impacts of the pandemic on children.

Send in your questions for the discussion to [email protected]

The AP contributed to this report.

EU may ban US travelers; Latin America sees COVID-19 surge; Palestinian officials call for probe into killing of youth

EU may ban US travelers; Latin America sees COVID-19 surge; Palestinian officials call for probe into killing of youth

The World staff

A man sits on his rickshaw waiting for clients, as Spain officially reopens the borders amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain, June 21, 2020.


Nacho Doce/Reuters


Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Backpacking through Europe will likely not be an option for US travelers this summer. As the European Union looks to reopen in July, the bloc is working to prevent additional outbreaks of the novel coronavirus by blocking entry from countries that have had unsuccessful or haphazard responses to the pandemic — including the US. Visitors from China, however, are likely to be welcomed.

Travel bans have become synonymous with the Trump administration. The president sparked ire in March after announcing a ban against most European travelers, though that move did not prevent the US from becoming an epicenter of the virus, with more than 2.3 million cases reported.   

On the EU’s draft list of banned travelers, the US keeps company with Brazil and Russia, which are also deemed unsafe by the EU’s epidemiological criteria. In all three of these countries, leadership downplayed the virus and responses have been chaotic. This week, a Brazilian judge ordered President Jair Bolsonaro, known for his blasé attitude about COVID-19, to wear a mask in Brasília or risk fines, reminding the president that he is not above the law. 

What The World is following

The novel coronavirus is accelerating in Latin America and the Caribbean; official deaths surpassed 100,000 Tuesday, though the true number is likely much higher. The virus is plunging millions into poverty, and criminal corruption scandals are threatening more lives. And as the virus surges in impoverised regions, aid agencies are scrambling to deliver a lifesaving resource: oxygen

Palestinian officials have called for an international probe into the killing of Ahmed Erekat after Israeli soldiers shot the 27-year-old man and prevented medical aid from reaching him for more than an hour. Israeli officials say they suspected Erekat to be involved in a car-ramming attack. His family disputes the allegations, and human rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus after organizing a tournament in Croatia. And, Major League Baseball announced plans to open the 2020 season in late July. 

From The WorldAmid global protests, Jamaicans confront their own problems with policing

People hold posters as they take part in a demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica, June 6, 2020.


Gilbert Bellamy/Reuters 

Jamaica shares the United States’ history of colonialism and slavery, and now has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings. Activists there are thinking about what the global moment of police accountability could mean for their country.

The World is hosting a Facebook Live on the Latino conservative vote titled. “The Latino Republican: Issues and influence in the 2020 election.”


Graphic by Maria Elena Romero/The World

In the 2018 midterm election, about 30% of Latinos in the US backed a Republican candidate. But conservative Latinos are not a monolithic group, and they do not vote as a bloc. 

The World’s Daisy Contreras will moderate a Facebook Live conversation on Latino conservatives today, June 24 at noon Eastern time. Join us for the discussion: “The Latino Republican: Issues and influence in the 2020 election.”

Morning meme

Yesterday, we noted that in Spain, plants filled an opera house. In France? Minions take to the cinema. We assume Kevin, Stuart and Bob are watching “Despicable Me.”

Minions toys are seen on cinema chairs to maintain social distancing between spectators at a MK2 cinema in Paris as Paris’ cinemas reopen doors to the public following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, June 22, 2020. 


Benoit Tessier/Reuters

In case you missed itListen: Trump celebrates the border wall

US President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One to visit a nearby US-Mexico border wall site in Yuma, Arizona, June 23, 2020.


Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump visits Arizona on Tuesday where he will make a stop in Yuma to celebrate the 200th mile of construction of the US-Mexico border wall. Most of the construction has been replacement segments. And, a monument to Winston Churchill in central London has become a flashpoint between Black Lives Matter demonstrators and far-right protesters. Also, after three months of darkness, the stage lights at a Barcelona opera house were flipped back on, suggesting a return to normalcy. But as musicians took the stage for a live concert, they looked out at an audience filled with potted plants.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The World’s Latest Edition podcast using your favorite podcast player: RadioPublicApple PodcastsStitcherSoundcloudRSS.