Friday, August 2, 2013

July Wrap-Up

Crowds Gather at Copacabana to hear Pope
While not on the same massive scale was seen in the first few weeks, protests continue in Brazil. 

Last week saw allegations that an undercover policeman threw a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration in Rio, apparently in an attempt to discredit the protesters. The story even received detailed coverage in Globo, hardly known for its support of dissenters.

Meanwhile, the Pope's visit made news throughout the last full week of July, starting with his rather chaotic arrival, in which his vehicle was swarmed by eager crowds. 

To his credit, the Pope seemed totally comfortable in spite of this obvious breakdown in security, and smiled as he greeted his fans. He took a well-deserved rest on Tuesday after all the excitement.

Supreme Court President Joaquim Barbosa appeared to snub Dilma during a ceremony in which dignitaries greeted the Pope. A spokesman for Barbosa later said that the judge had already greeted Dilma earlier and saw no reason to do so again.

The Pope abandoned most of the ceremonial trappings favored by his predecessor, wearing a simple white robe and making what appeared to be a genuine effort to connect directly with the people. His trip was seen as a success, and it has led to speculation that it may have helped re-ignite the fortunes of Catholicism in Latin America, where it has lost ground to evangelical Protestantism in recent decades. 

The "Campo da Fé," which was constructed as a special venue for the Pope to say Mass, had to be abandoned because heavy rains turned it into a field of mud. Instead, the Pope said mass to a crowd of several million on the beach at Copacabana.