Monday, June 6, 2011

Pope Visits Croatia and Zagreb defends entry in the EU

The Serb General Ratko Mladic is not the only war criminal who has left the Balkan conflict. The proof is in the Croatian General Ante Gotovina, former military commander of Croatian forces, convicted just last month by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to 24 years in prison for the operation ethnic cleansing that took place in 1995 in the Krajina region, which killed about 150 Serb civilians and expelled from the area to about 150,000.

However, almost all Croats consider Gotovina a national hero and angrily rejects his sentence. To the extent that, as reflected in the polls, most of them is willing to waive the entry of Croatia into the European Union (scheduled for 2012 or 2013) in exchange for free to see their national hero.

Even the Croatian Church questions the verdict of the Hague Tribunal and gives the face for Gotovina. Not surprisingly, before being arrested in December 2005 in the Canary Islands, it is assumed that Gotovina went into hiding for a time in a Franciscan monastery in Croatia. At least that Carla del Ponte reported, whichever ICTY Chief Prosecutor.

It is precisely in this country of just over four million people, overwhelmingly Catholic that the Holy See (with Germany) was the first country to recognize independent after pleading where Benedict XVI arrived Saturday. The pope landed at 11.00 am in Zagreb, the capital, where he will preside over a Mass on Sunday to close the national day of the Croatian Catholic family, the great aim of his visit.

But no one is aware of the important political dimension to this trip, the 19 th that makes the German-born pontiff. And not only because of the resounding boost to Croatia's accession to the EU which is the Pope's visit to Croatia. "It's logical, just and necessary" that Croatia enters the EU, said today the pope told reporters accompanying him on the plane to Zagreb.

Moreover, and as a backdrop to his visit, is inevitably condemned Gotovina and the rejection of the Croatian Bishops' Conference to it. "The Hague Tribunal has not taken into account that Croatia was a victim of Serbian aggression," sentenced the Croatian bishops in defense of the military.

Also from the Vatican are sympathetic to the anger that has triggered condemnation of Gotovina in the Croatian ultra-nationalist sectors. "We need to understand the reasons for the reaction to that statement," said on Wednesday Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. "The Croats have felt a bit hurt by the perspective that the war has been presented, that has not recognized the extent of release for them was very important." During his first day in the country, Benedict XVI received a bath in the vigil Mass celebrated with thousands of young Croats in central Zagreb, who said that Jesus "is not a deceiver" and urged them not to give a the temptation of material things, "to have and hold," according to Efe.

Welcomed with songs and cheers and the classic "Benedict, Benedict" for more than 50,000 young people, who stoically braved the storms and heavy rains that downloaded afternoon in the Croatian capital, the Pope invited the boys to put their trust in Jesus, "because you never disappoint." "Jesus is a teacher who wants to fool his disciples, clearly tells us that the road with him requires effort and sacrifice, but it's worth," said the old pope, 84, who had good looks.

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