One of the most influential liberation theologians in Brazil has just granted a startling interview to Claudia Korol of the “Fray Tito News Agency for Latin America.”
In the interview Brazilian Dominican friar 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.
In the surprising interview, Friar Betto confessed that 22 years after the publication of his book praising Castro, “Fidel and Religion,” “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.”
“Baptism of Blood,” Friar Betto explained, “is a detailed narration of all of the events in which the Dominicans were involved. Even of the death of Marighella, the way in which he died, the drama of the torture of Friar Tito, who ended up committing suicide out of desperation.”
Friar Betto spent a good portion of the interview praising Marighella, who was a trainer for terrorist organizations around the world, from ETA in Spain to the Red Brigades in Italy, to even the Islamic fundamentalists of Al Qaeda.
Asked about liberation theology, Friar Betto complained about the “vaticanization 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 Europeanized, from the point of view of the power structure.”
He said hope for future is in the “base communities,” which “continue to have a different vision, which is not that of these Europeanized bishops.”