Chile

Fernando Llano / AP

After the deadly clashes along Venezuela's borders this past weekend, authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro still looks firmly entrenched in power. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó is recognized by the United States and more than 50 other countries as Venezuela's legitimate president. And now he says "all options" - even U.S. military intervention - should be considered to topple Maduro's socialist regime.

WLRN's Christine DiMattei and Tim Padgett talked about where the Venezuela crisis stands now - and where it's probably headed.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

There is no end in sight to Venezuela’s humanitarian or political emergencies. One of the top Latin American diplomats trying to solve the crises is in Miami this week - and he sees no easy solutions on the horizon.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

José Ignacio Valenzuela is one of Latin America’s most popular authors. His “Malamor” trilogy is among the best-selling young adult novels in the Spanish-speaking world today. The trilogy’s first part – “To the End of the World” – was just translated into English.

Valenzuela was born in Chile and often goes by the nickname “Chascas.” He now lives here in Palmetto Bay with his husband – and he sat down with WLRN’s Tim Padgett to talk about his romantic, magical-realist fantasy novels and their bilingual appeal.

Pope Francis has expelled two retired Chilean clerics from the priesthood. In a statement Saturday, the Vatican announced that the two men, Archbishop Emeritus Francisco José Cox Huneeus and Bishop Emeritus Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, were defrocked "as a consequence of manifest abuse of minors."

The Vatican said the move made Thursday by the pontiff cannot be appealed.

Pope Francis has defrocked notorious Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, making what the Vatican calls an "exceptional" decision based on his own conscience and concern for the good of the Catholic Church. Karadima has been the face of the church's sexual abuse scandal in Chile.

Gregorio Borgia / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

As a Roman Catholic, I’m supposed to be encouraged by the anguished letter Pope Francis issued this week. The one in which he condemns the monstrous and never-ending “atrocities” of sexual abuse of children by priests – and their equally monstrous and never-ending cover-up by bishops.

But I’m not hopeful.

That’s because aside from being a Catholic I’m also a Latin Americanist – and I know how badly Francis, the first Latin American pope, failed Latin America in this crisis. That's why Latin Americans, particularly South Americans, seem to understand that this criminal tragedy won’t be solved by a papal crackdown on the priesthood. It can only really be addressed by a papal crack-up of that priesthood.

Venezolana de Television via AP

COMMENTARY

It’s tempting to call last weekend’s failed drone attack on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro daring.

Unfortunately, the only thing you can ultimately call it is dumb – because assassination attempts are only going to make Maduro dig in, not give in.

When Maduro claimed last Saturday he’d been the target of exploding drones, the world was rightly skeptical. He and his socialist regime are shamelessly notorious for concocting assassination conspiracies to divert attention from their disastrous and dictatorial rule.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a controversial figure at the center of Chile's child sex abuse scandal along with two other bishops, according to the Vatican. Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno was accused of covering up the acts of a notorious abuser, and the pope enraged thousands of Catholics in Chile when he appointed Barros as bishop in 2015.

Francis also accepted the resignations of Bishop Gonzalo Duarte of Valparaiso and Bishop Cristian Caro of Puerto Montt.

In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse.

In the weeks that followed, the Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.

Now, Francis has been apologizing and listening to some of those he offended most.

Updated at 3:10 a.m. ET

Pope Francis has acknowledged "serious mistakes" in his handling of Chile's sex abuse scandal and summoned the country's bishops to an emergency meeting in Rome to discuss the matter.

Francis blamed a lack of "truthful and balanced information" for misjudging the situation concerning Bishop Juan Barros, who he appointed to the small diocese of Osorno in 2015 despite allegations that he had helped cover up abuse by his mentor, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

When Pope Francis visited Chile earlier this month, he lashed out at victims of sexual abuse and accused them of "calumny" regarding a bishop who is suspected of covering up abuse they endured by a pedophile priest.

The pope said there was "not a shred of evidence" against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros. "The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros," he said, "I'll speak."

Now the pope is sending a top envoy on a mission to Chile to look into survivors' claims.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

Pope Francis, arriving in Chile to begin a three-day visit, opened his trip by asking for forgiveness over a local priest-abuse scandal that has left the country reeling — and prompted a less-than-warm reception for the Argentine-born pontiff.

Fernando Llano / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

When right-wing military tyrant Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile in the 1970s and 80s, a then-democratic Venezuela gave refuge to Chilean opposition exiles who'd been targeted for prison or “disappearance” under his brutal dictatorship.

Pablo Neruda did not die of cancer, after all.

At least, that's the unanimous conclusion of an international group of forensic experts who inspected samples from the Chilean poet's exhumed remains. Official documents say Neruda succumbed to his prostate cancer and a related wasting sickness known as cancer cachexia in September 1973 — but researcher Aurelio Luna told a news conference Friday that the 16-member panel was "100 percent convinced" the official cause of death is wrong.

A Chilean court dealt abortion rights activists a landmark victory Monday, approving a controversial bill that rolled back parts of one of the world's strictest abortion bans.

The bill passed by lawmakers earlier this month — after a years-long campaign by President Michelle Bachelet — added three exceptions to a law that for nearly three decades outlawed abortion in all cases. By a narrow margin, lawmakers rendered abortion legal when the pregnancy results from rape, when the pregnancy endangers the mother's life and when the fetus is unviable.

Pages