Rene Padilla: "Capitalism has an ominous track
" (Photo: © CMS)
No ideology has a monopoly on terror. As many question capitalism in the wake of the banking crisis, theologian Rene Padilla has been looking at its even darker side.
Capitalism was meant to be the good guy - the ideology that triumphed over Communism, that goes hand in hand with freedom.
But states that commit themselves to capitalism can be just as dangerous as the oppressive Communists and Nazis of old, says Latin American theologian Rene Padilla.
As the ideology behind today’s War on Terror, capitalism “also has an ominous track” he says in an article in the latest issue of Yes, the Church Mission Society magazine.
A visit to Hungary’s House of Terror – dedicated to remembering the horrors of Nazi and Soviet occupation there – reminded him and his wife of their adopted Argentina and its own capitalist dictatorship.
“From 1976 to 1983 we also lived a nightmare under a dictatorship fully committed to an ideology – neither Nazism nor Communism, but neo-liberal Capitalism; neither backed by Germany nor by the Soviet Union, but (sad to say) by the United States of America!”
Thirty thousand people, labelled subversives, ‘disappeared’ during those years.
“Surveillance, violation of human rights, torture – including rape, stealing of babies born of imprisoned mothers, and concentration camps became the order of the day,” says Padilla.
“My wife and I could not help thinking that Argentina also needs a house of terror museum.”
He points out that while we in the West readily condemn the state terrorism practised in Hungary and elsewhere during the Nazi and Communist eras, we have an apparent blindspot about the military dictatorships, backed by the United States of America, which operated in Argentina and some other Latin American countries.
The testimony of an Argentine navy captain shocked the country in the mid-90s as he confessed to taking part in ‘death flights’, where ‘subversives’ were drugged and thrown, alive and naked, into the Atlantic from military planes in mid-flight.
Although the ‘Dirty War’ against so-called ‘Communist subversion’ in Latin American countries is now history, Padilla – currently missiology in residence at CMS – says we need to acknowledge the part played by the West.
Moreover, we should ask if we have a similar blindspot about the consequences of today’s War on Terror.
From the West's original backing of Saddam Hussein to the torture secrets of Guantanamo Bay, what will its house of terror museum contain?Carlos Rene Padilla is the current CMS missiologist in residence. Read the full article in the Advent edition of Yes. Get it here >