Transcript below. This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. During that time, up to 30, people were kidnapped and killed. A lawsuit accused Jorge Bergoglio of being connected to the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics.
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Transcript below. This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. During that time, up to 30, people were kidnapped and killed. A lawsuit accused Jorge Bergoglio of being connected to the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics. ESMA refers to the former navy school that was turned into a detention center where people were tortured by the military dictatorship. The new pope has denied the charges.
He twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court to testify about the allegations. When he eventually did testify in , human rights activists characterized his answers as evasive. We welcome you to Democracy Now! I wanted to just begin by you laying out for us what you believe is important to understand about the new pope, Pope Francis. He preaches in rail stations, in the streets. He goes to the quarters, the poor quarters of the city to pray.
But his message is absolutely conservative. He was opposed to abortion, to the egalitarian matrimony law. He launched a crusade against the evil when Congress was passing this law, and in the very same style that John Paul II.
This is what I consider the main feature on the new pope. He was accused by two Jesuit priests of having surrendered them to the military. He was the provincial superior of the order in Argentina, being very, very young.
He was the younger provincial Jesuit in history; at 36 years, he was provincial. And they accuse him for this deed. He denies this. He said to me that he tried to get them free, that he talked with the former dictator, Videla, and with former dictator Massera to have them freed. And during a long period, I heard two versions: the version of the two kidnapped priests that were released after six months of torture and captivity, and the version of Bergoglio.
This was an issue divisive in the human rights movement to which I belong, because the president founding of CELS, Center for Legal and Social Studies, Emilio Mignone, said that Bergoglio was a accomplice of the military, and a lawyer of the CELS, Alicia Oliveira, that was a friend of Bergoglio, tell the other part of the story, that Bergoglio helped them.
But during the research for one of my books, I found documents in the archive of the foreign relations minister in Argentina, which, from my understanding, gave an end to the debate and show the double standard that Bergoglio used. The second document is a note from the officer that received the petition recommending to his superior, the minister, the refusal of the renewal of the passport. This means, to my understanding, a double standard. He asked the passport given to the priest in a formal note with his signature, but under the table he said the opposite and repeated the accusations that produced the kidnapping of these priests.
Orlando, after his releasing, went to Rome. In what condition were they? What had happened to them? They were tortured. They were interrogated. One of the interrogators had externally knowings about theological questions, that induced one of them, Orlando Yorio, to think that their own provincial, Bergoglio, had been involved in this interrogatory.
And when released, he went to Rome. He lived seven years in Rome, then come back to Argentina. And when coming back to Argentina, he was incardinated in the Quilmes diocesis in Great Buenos Aires, where the bishop was one of the leaders of the progressive branch of the Argentine church opposite to that of Bergoglio.
And Orlando Yorio denounced Bergoglio. I received his testimony when Bergoglio was elected to the archbishop of Buenos Aires. And he was for oblivion and pardon. That he was, during a lot of years, very resented against Bergoglio, but that he had decided to forgot and forget. And when I released the book with the story, one Argentine journalist working for a national agency, [inaudible], who has been a disciple of Jalics, talked with him and asked him for the story. And Jalics told him that he would not affirm, not deny the story.
And this tells something about Bergoglio and the Argentine church also. Could you detail some of the crimes that he was convicted of committing? Von Wernich, I said. He was present during the torture sessions, von Wernich.
And there is not the just one chaplain; there are some others that are under trial in this moment. A Chaplain Zitelli in Santa Fe province, for being present during torture sessions.
So, there are a lot of them that were part of the dirty war. That was a State Department cable that was released by WikiLeaks. Horacio, could you respond? First of all, the State Department considered that Bergoglio was the chief of the position to the Kirchner government. And I agree with this statement. This is not true, to my understanding. The conviction of Father von Wernich is a consequence of a trial that started much before the Kirchners arriving to power and has its own judicial logic and not a political timetable.
We thought we lost you for a minute. I wanted to ask you about this issue of hiding political prisoners when a human rights delegation came to Argentina. Can you tell us when this was, what are the allegations, and what was the role, if any, of Bergoglio, now Pope Francis?
The intervention was from the cardinal that in that time was the chief of the church in Buenos Aires. That is the position that Bergoglio has in the present. But in that time, he was not archbishop of Buenos Aires. When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights came into Argentina to investigate allegations of human rights violations, the navy took 60 prisoners out of ESMA and got them to a village that was used by the Cardinal Aramburu to his weekends.
And in this weekend property were also the celebration each year of the new seminarians that ended their studies. So where were they? Indeed, he helped me to investigate a case. He gave me the precise information about in which tribunal was the document demonstrating that this villa was owned by the church. And the prisoners were held in a weekend house that was the weekend house of the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires in that time. And Bergoglio gave me the precise information about the tribunal in which were the documents affirming this relationship between this property and the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
This is Democracy Now!
Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez interview Horacio Verbitsky author of El silencio for Democracy Now
Early life[ edit ] Verbitsky was born in Buenos Aires in and he is the son of the also Argentinean journalist and writer Bernardo Verbitsky. His paternal grandparents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He has also become known under the nickname "el Perro" "the dog" , for his determination in uncovering stories. The book became a national bestseller. The Flight[ edit ] Verbitsky claims he was approached on the subway in November by naval officer Adolfo Scilingo who offered to discuss human rights abuses by the Argentine military during the Dirty War. He met with Verbitsky for several taped sessions telling him "We did terrible things there, worse than the Nazis". A best seller in Argentina, the book received mixed reviews from critics abroad.
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