March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


    SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Nicolas Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, has decried "USAID death squads" in the wake of comments by the wife of the US ambassador praising the large numbers of sterilizations carried out by clinics funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    According to the newspaper Listin Diairo, Kathleen Manatt, wife of US Ambassador Charles Manatt, who is the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said she was pleased that 600 sterilizations had taken place at the Rosa Cisneros clinic. The Rosa Cisneros abortion clinic is described as a "reproductive health" center by the operator, the Dominican Association for the Well-Being of the Family (PROFAMILIA).

    The US-based Population Research Institute (PRI) said it had placed calls last month to the head office of USAID in Santo Domingo, and an official there confirmed that USAID funds PROFAMILIA. In turn, PROFAMILIA confirmed that its main source of funding to operate the Rosa Cisneros clinic comes from USAID.

    Word of the cardinal's denunciation reached Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas), who promptly sent a letter to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. "Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez is the Archbishop of Santo Domingo and a former president of the Latin American Bishops Conference," Tiahrt wrote. "Clearly a person in his position would not use such intemperate language without provocation. According to those same reports, the cardinal was reacting to certain statements attributed to Kathleen Manatt, the wife of our Ambassador to the Dominican Republic."

    The US embassy has since denied that Manatt praised the Santa Rosa clinic's sterilization program. In fact, PRI said that repeated attempts were made by officials at the US embassy to kill a story on the subject that appeared in the magazine Our Sunday Visitor on March 5.

    In that story, Cardinal Lopez is quoted as saying: "I feel profoundly offended, primarily by the insult of [Kathleen Manatt] coming to this country to do what she doesn't have to do .... [S]he can do what she wants [in the US], and her government, which doesn't know much about morality, either, can do whatever it thinks .... We want to be poor but honest, we want to accept the truth; we don't want anyone to come to take advantage of our condition and defenselessness."


March 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 57

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