Be a new man - like Fidel, Brazilian Dominican advises

In a wide ranging interview, Brazilian Dominican liberation theologian, Frei Betto, has slammed "vaticanisation" of the Church and held up Cuban strongman, Fidel Castro, as a model of the revolutionary "new man".

In the interview with the Fray Tito News Agency for Latin America, Dominican Alberto Libanio Christo, known as "Friar Betto", expressed his admiration for Fidel Castro and for the "father" of urban terrorism, Carlos Marighella.

He also revealed his enthusiasm for the time he spent with Marxist guerrillas during Brazil's military government, Catholics News reports.

Friar Betto confessed that "as a young boy I had great admiration for the Cuban revolution, because I am of the generation of young people in their 20s during the first years of the revolution. A generation that followed the Vietnam War, The Beatles - for me Cuba was a model.

"After I became involved in the armed struggle against the military dictatorship in Brazil, when I was a prisoner, we listened to Radio Habana Cuba, in order to get news about Brazil."

Asked about his impressions of Fidel and his personality, the Dominican friar said, "Fidel is an example of the new man, the revolutionary, a person who has dedicated his life to liberating a nation and other nations as well, through his solidarity with the poor countries of the world."

"My dream is that all Cubans and all of us, revolutionaries, leftist militants, will one day be like Fidel," Friar Betto said, adding, "Fidel is ahead of his times. He will always be a person who will be an example, like Che (Guevara), who gave his life for the poor."

In the extensive interview, Friar Betto also referred to his book, Baptism of Blood, which was recently turned into a movie in Brazil.

He said he wrote the book "to remember and visit all of the places of a group of Dominican friars in Brazil that joined the National Liberation Action of Carlos Marighella, a great revolutionary, and we participated as a support group of the urban guerilla."

Friar Betto also complained about the "vaticanisation of the Catholic Church, with more and more control".

"Our Church is less and less like our peoples, like our mestizos. We have a Church that is more and more Europeanised, from the point of view of the power structure," he concluded.

Brazilian religious praises Castro and Al Qaeda mentor, acknowledged past guerrilla involvement (Catholic News, 13/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Frei Betto (Wikipedia)
Carlos Marighella (Wikipedia)
Fidel Castro (Wikipedia)
Che Guevara (Wikipedia)

Papers suggest Fidel may be regaining faith (CathNews, 24/8/06)
Catholic dissidents in Cuba call for calm (CathNews, 16/8/06)

14 Jun 2007