Foreign media take look at Francis's ties to dictatorship

New pope accused of inaction during 'Dirty War'

Foreign media take look at Francis's ties to dictatorship

Rome, March 14 - Not yet 24 hours into his reign as Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is facing media scrutiny for the role he played during Argentina's brutal military dictatorship in the late 1970s. Articles critical of Bergoglio's role during the dictatorship years appeared Thursday in papers ranging from the New York Times to Spain's El Mundo and even Argentina's Pagina 12. While Bergoglio took a hard line against recent Kirchner governments accusing them of economic policies which didn't help relieve vast social imbalances in Argentina, the New York Times pointed out that he was "less energetic" in taking on the dictatorship, which under the leadership of Jorge Rafael Videla was responsible for crimes against humanity including kidnappings, torture and extrajudicial murders of activists, political opponents and their families. The NYT recalled how Bergoglio was "accused of being aware of the abuses of the 'Dirty War' and of having not done enough to stop them while 30,000 people disappeared, were tortured or killed by the dictatorship." Leading U.K. daily the Times took an even harder stance, leading its first page with the headline: "The friend of the people who was at ease with the dictators". BBC Mundo went a step further in an analysis of the new Pope titled: "Jorge Bergoglio and the shadow of the military government" which cited the cases of priests Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, kidnapped in May, 1976 and held for five months in the Escuela Mecanica de la Armada, the secret center from which the flights of death - in which opponents of the regime were taken out over the Pacific Ocean and dumped from planes - took off. In an email sent by Gabriela Yorio, the sister of Orlando (who died in 2000), to Pagina 12 shortly after the election of Francis, Yorio wrote: "I can't believe it. I am so distressed so angry I don't know what I can do. I see Orlando on my bedside table; for so many years he had said 'he (Bergoglio) wants to be Pope.' He (Bergoglio) is the expert in shutting things up."

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