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EU’s Foreign Policy Representative Borrell Begins His Trip To Cuba With Support For The Island’s Private Sector



Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, during an official act in Havana.
Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, during an official act in Havana.YANDER ZAMORA (REUTERS)

Josep Borrell’s first trip to Havana as high representative of Foreign Policy for the European Union began on Thursday with a clear show of support to the increasingly important Cuban private sector and a message to the authorities that Brussels is willing to collaborate in the deepening of the economic reform taking place on the island, as the country is going through one of the worst crises in its history, which has resulted in unprecedented social unrest. Borrell’s visit, which will last until Saturday, comes at a particularly complex moment for the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel, which in recent months has exponentially increased its economic and political rapprochement with Russia. Given this situation, European diplomacy is trying to keep the channels of dialogue and influence open, preserving the spaces created since 2017 with the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and the EU, which put an end to the two decades of estrangement that involved the so-called European common position promoted by former Spanish President José María Aznar.

Within this dialogue, of utmost importance for the EU, is the always delicate issue of progress in the field of human rights, which will be discussed on Friday in the official talks and which generates quite a few frictions on the Cuban side, although at least now it can be officially discussed. For Havana, one of the key issues is the European condemnation of the U.S. embargo and support for its diplomatic efforts to get the Biden Administration to remove the island from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, something that Borrell has already raised in the past with his Washington counterparts, although nothing has moved so far. The image in Cuba, basically, continues to be that of a cold war, with Russia ever closer and immersed in the war in Ukraine and the Cuban government entrenched against U.S. policy, which it considers the cause of all its ills. In this scenario, Europe is playing its cards, which are of “constructive” but at the same time “critical” engagement on various issues; that is, not to break the deck and little by little to achieve progress.

In the midst of the current galloping crisis, the green light given in 2021 to the creation of private MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises), with legal personality and up to 100 workers, has opened a new scenario on the island. Nearly 8,000 have already been created, and although they still operate with many bureaucratic obstacles, they have changed Cuba’s economic panorama -one out of every three Cubans now works in the private sector, which contributes almost 12% of the GDP, a reality unthinkable just a decade ago.

Precisely, Borrell’s first public act in Cuba was a meeting with representatives of the new MSMEs, who explained to him the potential of this opening and the problems they face for their businesses to prosper. “We know that the current context is full of challenges for MSMEs and new economic actors, but also of formidable opportunities,” said the head of European diplomacy, noting that the EU was at their service “to support them and work with the authorities in the search for solutions to make their contribution to society more viable.”

The EU is committed to working with the relevant Cuban ministries to exchange “best practices and experiences” in terms of legislation that contribute to the modernization of the economy and stimulate MSMEs in various ways – with training courses, technical support, advice, access to financing, etc. – and also contribute to greater legal certainty, said Borrell. In the afternoon, he was scheduled to meet with European businessmen – the EU is a leader in investment and trade with the island – to also express their support and backing. In the period 2021-2024, the EU plans to invest 91 million euros in various collaboration agreements, of which 14 million euros are earmarked for the emerging MSME sector, a figure that could increase in the coming years.

On his first day in Cuba he also held a meeting with the Cuban episcopate, and on Friday he will meet with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez to hold the third EU-Cuba Joint Council, as part of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between Cuba and the European Union. The last physical meeting of this format was held in September 2019, when EU diplomacy was still in the hands of Federica Mogherini. A month later, Borrell traveled to Havana, albeit in his capacity as Spanish foreign minister, on one of his last missions before taking over the diplomatic portfolio from the Italian, in December of that year. Two years later, in 2021, with Borrell at the helm, the appointment was limited to a mere informal meeting by videoconference, due to the pandemic.

Prior to Borrell’s trip to Cuba several NGOs asked him to address in his high-level talks the issue of the more than 700 prisoners from the massive demonstrations of July 11, 2021 -something Borrell already condemned at the time- and to demand their release. How the issue will be touched upon, and whether the head of European diplomacy will ask for some kind of “gesture” from the Cuban side, is not known. It is presumable that it will happen, but in any case it will be in a discreet way, since the current European position is to keep the channels of communication open in order to exert influence, besides the fact that Borrell’s visit must also be read in a multilateral key, as part of the approach of the EU to the Latin American and Caribbean countries on the eve of the next EU-CELAC summit, to be held in Brussels on July 17 and 18. European sources point out that Cuba is an “important voice” among developing countries as president pro tempore of the group of 134 developing countries that make up the G-77+China. And if Cuba asks Europe to become more actively involved in getting the U.S. to change its policy of suffocation and remove the island from the list of countries that do not collaborate in the fight against terrorism, the old diplomatic dilemma of “help me and I will help you” is there again.

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The Spanish Priests Accused Of Child Abuse In The United States Who Fell Off The Radar




In 2018, EL PAÍS launched an investigation into pedophilia in the Spanish Church. We maintain an updated database with all known cases. If you know of a case that has not been reported, you can write to us at: If your information is regarding a case in Latin America, the address is:


Manuel Fernández is a Spanish priest who was ordained in 1959, ending up in New Jersey by 1979. But in 2002, he was accused of child abuse — which occurred in the 1980s — and was removed from his post.

However, Fernández then returned to his diocese in the city of Ourense, in northwestern Spain. From there, he continued to be a priest, living quietly, without anyone in the community knowing about his past. The bishop’s office didn’t take any special measures, claiming that there was no record about his background on the other side of the ocean.

Up until now, this case was totally unknown in Spain. But it’s not the only one to have recently come to light. There have been several cases of Spanish priests who have been accused of pedophilia in the United States, with no public disclosure. EL PAÍS first discovered a case like this in 2018, concerning Francisco Carreras. In 1984, he was sent to Salamanca from Miami with a warning about how dangerous he was. Yet, over the course of three decades, he was able to commit dozens of abuses across the Spanish province, moving from town to town.

In some cases, these clerics returned to Spain on the run and managed to evade detection. This newspaper has identified a total of 15 Spanish priests with clear accusations or convictions, along with another five defendants (who have not been included in this article) whose investigations have been inconclusive.

The information has been collected from data disseminated by U.S. media and from the Catholic Church itself.

Similarly, there are clerics from the United States and other countries — all accused of abuse in the U.S. — who, at some point, have ended up on Spanish soil. EL PAÍS has recorded six such cases, adding pieces to the puzzle concerning the Catholic Church in Spain, which has barely collaborated with investigators to help make the truth about these abusers known.

The recent case of Bolivia — where, in the past few weeks, six Spanish Jesuit priest have been accused of abuse — was the result of information uncovered by EL PAÍS, after this newspaper gained access to the diary of a deceased pedophile priest, Alfonso Pedrajas. The perpetrator’s notes indicate that, oftentimes, a priest’s transfer to another country was precisely because of accusations of abuse in Spain.

However, in several cases in the United States, this phenomenon has also occurred in reverse, with priests escaping to Spain after being accused, arriving in the Mediterranean country with a clean file. In theory, the Catholic dioceses of departure should inform the destination dioceses of what has taken place. But it’s also unclear if the Church didn’t know about the accusations in the United States against clergy, or if the Church knew and opted to do nothing. In any case, in Spain, the trail of several priests has gone cold, as it’s been impossible to determine their dioceses of origin to ask for explanations. Of course, the Spanish Catholic Church certainly has this information, and could release it if it wanted to.

The oldest case involves the Jesuit priest Segundo Llorente. Born in 1906 in a town in the Spanish province of León, he was posted to an indigenous community in Alaska. He even became a local politician in the state legislature. And, despite all the crimes he committed, his image in Spain remains impeccable. Among the Jesuits, he is a legendary figure — his Wikipedia entry lists all his achievements, without a single mention of the abuse allegations.

There are many more cases from decades ago of priests who left Spain from the United States as young missionaries. Many lived the rest of their lives in North America, but others chose to return to Spain as a means of escape. In several of these cases, the mystery continues, given the silence of the dioceses. The priest Jesús García, for example, was accused of abuse in 1995, in Texas. He subsequently returned to Spain, where he landed in the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid, only to be placed in different parishes. The bishop’s office has refused to provide details about the case, only responding to EL PAÍS saying that it has informed the Ombudsman and the Spanish Episcopal Conference about the accusations.

A case that illustrates the other phenomenon — of non-Spanish priests accused in the United States subsequently ending up in Spain — is that of the Peruvian priest Edgardo Arrunategui Jiménez. After being accused in California, he left the U.S., covered his tracks and managed to settle in parishes in Madrid between 2004 and 2008, sometimes changing his name. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid now confirms that he was indeed in the area, but claims that he arrived from Peru — his original diocese — without any negative reports, while affirming that there are no complaints against him in Spain. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

All these cases — along with many others — were concealed from the public, lost among the thousands of accusations that have emerged since 2002, when The Boston Globe exposed the sex abuse scandal within the Archdiocese of Boston. Since then, numerous media outlets and victims’ organizations have published enormous amounts of information about hidden cases. In recent years, databases have been set up, such as’s, which includes profiles of every U.S. bishop, priest, nun, brother and seminarian accused of child sexual abuse.

In Spain, this work has been carried out by EL PAÍS since 2018, given the Catholic Church’s refusal to reveal what it knows and make the information public. The database maintained by this newspaper — opened in April 2021, the only one in existence in Spain — brings together all the cases that have come to light, through the media and court rulings, as well as those that have been directly admitted to by the Church. Currently, the database counts 959 accused persons, who abused a total of at least 1,922 victims. When this newspaper began its work, only 34 cases were known.

A year ago, the Ombudsman — commissioned by Spain’s Congress of Deputies — began an investigation into pedophilia within the Catholic Chuch of Spain. However, this report will still take time — there is no deadline. Similarly, the Spanish Episcopal Conference entrusted an internal investigation to a law firm — led by a member of Opus Dei — which presented its report in October. Although the Episcopal Conference assures the public that the Spanish dioceses have provided all the information they have, it remains to be seen if their degree of transparency will be up to the standard of the United States.

In the U.S. — unlike Spain — the Catholic Church already undertook a major transparency operation in 2004 that led to an avalanche of data. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ordered an investigation led by a council of laypeople, which commissioned a statistical study from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the the City University of New York. The data — from the 1950-2002 period — was provided by the dioceses themselves. The Conference also made the files public — the dioceses had to disseminate lists with names and surnames. The end result was that 4,392 U.S.-based priests had been charged in the past, 4% of the clergy. They had abused a total of at least 10,667 victims. Only 5% of these abuse cases had been taken to court.

This was only the beginning. Journalistic investigations and complaints continued to bring names to light, making it possible to cross-reference data and follow the trail of priests accused of child abuse who changed locations upon being discovered. Among them, there were also Spaniards, as well as non-Spanish accused priests who took off for Spain.

Listed below are 21 of the clergymen who are accused or convicted, according to U.S. records: 15 Spaniards and six foreigners, all of whom passed through Spain at some point. Information has been requested from all the North American dioceses involved. So far, very few have responded.

Julián Sanz

A Spanish priest from the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, he was sentenced in 2003 to five years in prison for abusing two minors. In 2010, he was expelled from the clergy.

Born in 1949, Julián Sanz was ordained in 1977. Three years later, he arrived in the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona. In 2002, a man accused Sanz of sexually abusing him. After that lawsuit, about a year later, he was accused of having abused another minor, back in 1982.

Sanz was finally arrested in 2003. He admitted to the accusations and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2010, he was removed from the priesthood. He appears on the Diocese of Tucson’s 2019 list of priests who have been credibly accused of abuse.

Segundo Llorente

A prestigious Jesuit priest, he spent 40 years ministering in remote parts of Alaska. He was elected to the state legislature. He died in 1989. By 2004, accusations of child abuse began to be levied against him.

Llorente was a Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher and writer. At the age of 13, he entered the seminary in León, Spain. He arrived in Alaska in 1935, where he spent four decades ministering in remote towns across the territory, while learning indigenous languages. He even was elected as a representative to the state legislature — becoming the first Catholic priest to be part of a North American legislature — and is considered to be a co-founder of the state of Alaska, which was admitted as the 49th state in 1959.

Llorente passed away in 1989 and was buried on an Indian burial ground in De Smet, Idaho, where typically only Native American Indians can be buried upon their request. He was also named favorite son of his hometown of León. However, his image began to darken in 2004, when he was accused of acts of sexual abuse that took place between 1956 and 1957. According to the allegations, Llorente invited a six or seven-year-old boy to his house on more than four occasions, after catechism class. In 2005, another victim accused the priest. Both victims received financial compensation from the Catholic Church, although two claims are still pending. Llorente is included in a list of Jesuit priests with credible accusations, published by Jesuits West Province in 2018.

José Mena

He was accused of three counts of child abuse in Florida — his diocese paid $150,000 in damages. He returned to Spain in 2005, at the age of 76, but it is unknown where he was subsequently assigned.

Born in 1929, Mena was ordained in 1961. It is unknown if this took place in Spain or in the United States. In 1965, while ministering in Florida, he was accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a child. The lawsuit was filed in 2005 and the Diocese of St. Augustine settled with the victim for a sum of $150,000. In 2008, another lawsuit was filed against him. According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), “Mena repeatedly fondled, sodomized and forced the boy to perform oral sex” during the 1970s. In 2009, yet another victim sued him.

After the first accusations in 2005, Meta was removed from his post. He subsequently returned to Spain, although it is unknown where he was subsequently assigned, whether any measures were taken against him, or if he was allowed to maintain contact with minors.

John Peris

In reality, his first name is Juan, or Vicente, depending on which registry is consulted. Peris was a Spanish priest stationed in the state of New Mexico, who was accused of abusing a minor in 1995. He then returned to Spain, although it is unclear where exactly he lived out the rest of his years.

Although he is listed as “John” in U.S. records, his given name is actually Juan, sometimes, though, he’s listed as Vicente. He was ordained in 1934, either in Spain or the United States.

He was a parish priest in the city of Anton Chico, New Mexico. He also served as a missionary in small towns across the state. In 1995, a 51-year-old man accused Peris of having sexually abused him for several months when he was a child, back in 1957. According to reports by local media, the plaintiff was 13-years-old at the time — he lived in the Anton Chico parish, so as to be able to catch the school bus, which passed far away from his hometown. Peris returned to an unknown district in Spain after the complaint — by now, he would have passed away. He appears on a list of accused priests, published by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Andrew Roy is actually a Spaniard: Andrés Rodríguez. In 2003, a resident of Richmond, Virginia filed a lawsuit against the state diocese for $5 million, which was ultimately dismissed. He claimed that those responsible knew that Roy — a priest in the city of Hopewell — had abused him between 1962 and 1966 and did nothing about it. At the time, the victim was a 10-year-old altar boy. The plaintiff claimed that the church sexual abuse scandal that erupted in Boston in 2002 brought back memories of the abuse he faced at the hands of Rodríguez, which took place both in the parish and in the city’s elementary school.

Available data for Rodríguez indicates that he was ordained in 1936, in Los Angeles. He arrived in Virginia in 1956 and continued to minister until his retirement in 1981. In 2004, after being accused, he was already living in Spain, but his exact place of residence remained unknown. By the time he was accused, Rodríguez was 92-years-old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, according to the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.

Gabriel Salinas

One of the oldest cases, Salinas was the first Augustinian to arrive in the United States. Born in 1892, he was ousted and reassigned after being accused of sexually abusing a minor in California, in the late-1960s. This information came to light in 2004, long after his death.

Salinas was born in Spain in 1892 and ordained in 1909. He was the first Augustinian to go to the United States. For most of his 55 years of priesthood, he was a member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the U.S. He spent three decades in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1957, Salinas was transferred to Atwater, California, where he was accused of sexually abusing a minor between 1958 and 1960, as revealed in a 2004 report by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The report explained that he was once removed from office and reassigned to a rural parish for three years. SNAP asked the archbishop to release the information about Salinas to Nebraskan Catholics: “This predator spent more than 30 years in Nebraska, so it’s silly to think that he assaulted children in California, but never in Omaha.” Salinas died in 1972, after being hit by a car in Los Angeles. He appears on a list of priests accused of abuse, released by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

José I. Ugarte

Born in Spain and ordained in Los Angeles, he is accused of drugging and raping a boy in a hotel in Ensenada, California, in the late-1970s and abusing a 17-year-old boy in 1983. He was expelled from the U.S. in 1995 and sent to Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, under the supervision of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vitoria.

Born in Delika, Spain, in 1941, Ugarte was ordained in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1971. He is accused of drugging and raping a child in a hotel in Ensenada, California, in the late-1970s and of sexually abusing a 17-year-old boy in 1983. These crimes came to light in 2013, when the archbishop’s archives were opened and hidden documentation surfaced. In the first case, the child ended up in shock. The priest said he was too drugged to remember what happened — the authorities took no further action. One of the later victims recounted that they suffered abuse on 15 occasions and, after each one of the assaults, Ugarte absolved the victim of their sins.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles carried out an investigation and, in 1995, Archbishop Mahony ordered Ugarte to return to Spain, to the Diocese of Vitoria, under the supervision of the local bishop. Ugarte — prohibited from officiating public masses — was ordered to establish his residence there and look for a regular job. He was also prohibited from returning to the United States for a period of seven years without the express consent of the Church.

Emilio Roure

Ordained in Barcelona in 1920, he traveled to the United States in 1931. There, he passed through the dioceses of Los Angeles, Tucson and El Paso. He died in 1964. In 2019, he was accused of abuse by the Diocese of El Paso, Texas and the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Rourre was ordained in Barcelona, in 1920. The Official Catholic Directory indicates that he may have arrived in the United States in 1931. He first worked in Los Angeles, then in Tucson, Arizona and Gallup, New Mexico. In 1945, he was placed in charge of several parishes under the Diocese of El Paso, Texas. In 1965, during a trip to Barcelona to visit his brother, he died. Since 2019, he has been publicly listed as an abuser who committed acts of pedophilia while ministering under the jurisdiction of the dioceses of El Paso and Las Cruces.

Jesús García

Accused of abuse in the U.S. in 1995, he returned to Spain, to the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid. The complaint was ultimately dismissed, although various North American dioceses consider the accusations to be credible. This bishop’s office has refused to provide details about García’s case, only responding to EL PAÍS saying that it has informed the Ombudsman and the Spanish Episcopal Conference (ECC) about it.

Born in Burgos, Spain, in 1957, García studied at the city’s seminary until his penultimate year, when he moved to the United States, as confirmed by the Archdiocese of Burgos, which also notes that it has never heard from this priest again.

According to information from the Catholic Church in the United States, García was ordained in Burgos in 1984. From 1983, he began ministering under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas. There, he was accused of drugging and raping four children and a man between 1991 and 1994. Around that time, he went to Spain — his name appears in the records of the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares. However, in 1996, he voluntarily returned to Texas and was arrested. When his trial ended in 1997, the charges were dismissed, but in 2019, the Diocese of Corpus Christi included him on its public list of priests who had been credibly accused of committing sexual abuse. The institution notes that he was transferred in 2000 and defrocked in 2011.

Garcia sued for being included on the registry of abusers. However, upon being consulted by EL PAÍS, the Diocese of Corpus Christi reaffirms the information it made public back in 2019. However, the bishop’s office has not clarified whether or not it informed the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares or the Spanish Church about the accusations lodged against García in the United States.

After the trial, García returned to Spain permanently, to the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid. EL PAÍS has asked the leadership of the diocese whether they received any information regarding the accusations against this priest in the United States — if any measures have been taken against him, if he is allowed to continue ministering, if he is allowed to have contact with minors and if he has ever been the subject of any criminal complaints in Spain. The Diocese of Alcalá de Henares has only answered in writing, indicating that “the Ombudsman and the EEC have already been informed about this case.” The current whereabouts of García have not been disclosed.

Manuel Fernández

A priest from the Diocese of Ourense, in northwestern Spain, who moved to the United States, he was accused of sexual abuse in 2002 and retired. He then returned to the Spanish region of Galicia, where he continued to be a priest. The Diocese of Ourense says EL PAÍS that, when he arrived, there was no record of any of this.

Born in 1935, Fernández was ordained in 1959, in the Diocese of Ourense. In official records, he appears again in 1979, in New Jersey. He passed through several parishes in the Diocese of Trenton — in 2019, he was included in their public list of priests who had been accused of multiple cases of abuse. His case first came to light in 2002, after a woman accused him of events that transpired in 1982. He was subsequently removed from his post, but then returned to Ourense and continued to be a priest.

Upon being contacted by EL PAÍS, the Diocese of Ourense claims that, when he arrived, “there was no record about any [accusations] or any open [legal processes] in the United States.” In any case, the institution points out that he was already retired when he was living in Spain and that there were never any complaints against him in Ourense.

Back in 2005, an American newspaper located the priest in Galicia and spoke with him. Fernández told the reporters that he returned to Spain to live out his retirement and denied having been accused in Trenton, New Jersey. Luis Quinteiro — the then-bishop of Ourense — “refused to answer written questions about Monsignor Fernández,” according to the newspaper. He replied to the journalist: “I don’t know what right you have to send me these questions.” Fernández died in 2006, at the age of 71.

Emilio García

He was denounced in 2000 for raping a minor in the 1960s. He subsequently returned to Spain, although where exactly he settled has never been revealed.

Emilio García — ordained as a priest in 1957 — was accused of raping a minor during the 1960s in Florida, in the Diocese of Orlando. The victim began to have recurring memories of what happened in 2002, after the abuse in the Boston Church was exposed. According to what she told local media, García began abusing her when she was 14-years-old. Two weeks after her 16th birthday, Garcia invited her to his office to pick up a birthday present and raped her. Garcia admitted to the accusations. He was dismissed from his position and returned to Spain, although the exact destination has never been revealed. He passed away in 2020, according to the Florida Office of the Attorney General.

Joseph Rossell

A priest of the Holy Family, he came to the United States in 1947 and faced numerous accusations of abuse. He returned to Spain in 1972, where he died.

This Catalan priest — born in Bagà in 1907 — was ordained in 1930. He arrived in the United States in 1947. For the first three years of his stay, he was frequently transferred between parishes and states. Over the course of his years as a priest, he was sued several times for sexually abusing children. As recently as 2010, he was accused of having abused two girls in catechism class.

All the information about Rossell’s acts of sexual abuse only came to light in 2007, when the Diocese of San Diego made his file public. By then, he had been dead for a long time, since 1982. He had returned to Spain 10 years before he died. Since 2007, he has been on the Diocese of San Diego’s list of priests facing credible allegations of abuse.

Gregory Sierra Sheridan

An Augustinian, he was sued by more than nine victims for sexual abuse that he inflicted during the 1960s, in the state of Kansas. He returned to Spain in 1983, with a letter of recommendation in hand.

Sierra was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1911. He was ordained as a priest with the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1935, the year in which he began his role as an associate pastor in the state of Kansas. He passed through several states before settling in California, where he was accused for the first time by a woman, who claimed that Sierra had abused her in 1969, when she was eight-years-old. In 2019, three other women accused him of acts of sexual abuse that he inflicted on them in the 1960s. And, in 2020, five men and women filed another lawsuit.

One of the male victims claimed that Sierra had raped him when he was around 12-years-old. Yet, Sierra returned to Spain in 1983 with a letter of recommendation. He died in 1991, in Zaragoza. He is on a list of credibly accused members of the Diocese of San Diego. This list was published in 2007 as part of the religious institution’s bankruptcy proceedings, after payments were made to the victims who sued.

Carmelo García

A member of the Franciscan order, the Spaniard was sent to Santa Barbara, California. He was accused of acts of pedophilia between 1988 and 1991. He left the order in 1989 and returned to Spain, where the trail has since gone cold.

A member of the Franciscan order, Carmelo García was sent to Santa Barbara, California. He committed abuses between 1988 and 1991, according to a list of credibly accused clergymen, published by the local congregation in 2019. The document indicates that he left the order in 1989 and returned to Spain, but afterwards, there is hardly any information about him. The Franciscan order admits that it learned of his abuses back in 1998, although the information was only made public in 2019.

Francisco Carreras, el sacerdote acusado de abusos en Salamanca, en una imagen de los años noventa.

Francisco Carreras

Published in 2018, the Carreras case was the first discovered by EL PAÍS. It is also one of the most terrible. Dispatched to Miami from Salamanca, he was denounced for abuse and sent back to Spain. Although the Americans warned the Diocese of Salamanca about his crimes, he was subsequently assigned to towns across the province for a period of three decades, where he committed dozens of more sexual assaults.

The case of Francisco Carreras was the first of the Spanish priests accused in the United States and relocated to Spain that EL PAÍS discovered. The story was published between 2018 and 2019, at the beginning of the investigation into abuses within the Catholic Church of Spain. Carreras — ordained in Salamanca in 1973 — moved to Miami in 1975, where he was accused of sexual abuse. The Archdiocese of Miami sent him back to Spain to his original diocese — that of Salamanca — and warned the Spaniards about the accusations made against him, as confirmed by this newspaper. Carreras was nevertheless assigned to towns across the province of Salamanca between 1981 and 2004, under the mandate of three different bishops. He was accused of abusing dozens of minors. The Diocese of Salamanca has never given an explanation. Carreras lived in a hermitage and died during the pandemic.

Jeremiah Michael Spillane

A member of the Legionaries of Christ, he studied in Spain between the late-1980s and 1990s, before moving back to the United States. There, he was sentenced to two years of house arrest after attempting to flirt with a minor online. He was expelled from the order in 1998.

Spillane — an American citizen and a member of the Legionaries of Christ — was studying in schools run by the religious order in Spain during the late-1980s and 1990s, according to U.S. media reports. Born in 1954, he was ordained in 1986, in the Diocese of Venice, Florida. He worked in different countries as a teacher and director of Catholic schools. In 1997, he was sentenced to two years of house arrest and two years of probation for trying to flirt with a minor over the internet, who turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Spillane confessed, also admitting to previous abuses in Mexico. Spillane was removed by the Diocese of Venice in 1998. The judgment in the case explains that Spillane had rented a room where he planned to take the child with the intention of raping them. He is on a list of members of the Legionaries of Christ with proven accusations of sexual abuse.

George A. Costigan

This American priest was removed by the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey in 1994 and sent to a convent. Later, he spent time at a monastery in the village of Puentenansa, in northern Spain, between 2002 and 2004.

In 1993, this American priest — also known as “Brother Daniel Eliseo” — was accused of abusing a girl in the 1960s in the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey. He was subsequently removed as a priest and sent to a convent. However, he was then relocated to Spain and ended up in a monastery in the village of Puentenansa, in the north, where he lived between 2002 and 2004. Apparently, he chose this place because he claimed that, back in 1991, it was where he had experienced a miraculous cure from cancer.

Despite being removed and being prohibited from dressing as a priest and ministering, he then moved around various places in the United States, posing as a priest. In 2019, he was included in a list of clergy accused of pedophilia, drawn up by the Diocese of Paterson.

Edgardo Arrunategui Jiménez

Peruvian priest accused of sexual abuse in California. When the case came to light in 2004, he fled the United States. A newspaper tracked him down in Madrid, where he remained between 2004 and 2008, attached to parishes in and around the capital of Spain. Then, he disappeared.

This Peruvian priest served in the Diocese of Orange, California, from 1987 until 1990. The diocese explained that the reason for his sudden departure was that he had gone back to Peru as a missionary. However, he later returned to the Diocese of Fresno, California, between 1997 and 2004. It was then, in 2004 — after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ordered all dioceses to make hidden abuse cases public — that the Diocese of Orange revealed that Arrunategui had actually been fired in 1990, based on accusations of sexual abuse. After all of this was revealed, he fled the country.

However, in 2009, a local newspaper found out that the priest had passed through Madrid, where he spent at least five years in different parishes, sometimes changing his name. The OC Weekly asked the Archdiocese of Madrid for an explanation, but received no response. Arrunategui then returned to Peru, where he was tracked down by another journalist.

The Archdiocese of Madrid — upon being consulted by EL PAÍS — confirms that Arrunategui appears in its records as a student priest, who came to study theology at San Damaso Ecclesiastical University in the Spanish capital. According to the archbishop’s office, he came from the Peruvian Diocese of Chimbote, which did not communicate any history of abuse or any mention of his passage through the United States.

The Archdiocese of Madrid also notes that, as a student, Arrunategui was not assigned any pastoral duties. The religious authority claims that his stay was apparently limited from 2004 until 2006 and that no complaints were ever filed against him in the Spanish capital. The Diocese of Orange, meanwhile, tells EL PAÍS that the Peruvian was an external priest, refusing to give further details.

Michael J. Barrett

An American priest belonging to Opus Dei, he was sued in 2021 for abuses committed in the 1970s, when he was still a layperson. After his ordination in 1985, he spent some time in Spain, but it is unknown where exactly, or for how long.

Michael J. Barrett was denounced in 2021, accused of abusing a minor between 1974 and 1978, when he was still a layperson within Opus Dei. Barrett was ordained in Rome in 1985 and later moved to Madrid, an Opus Dei spokesperson in Spain confirms. However, the organization is not able to specify where he stayed or how long he spent in the country, explaining that it’s common for new priests to spend an internship period in Spain before being sent off on assignment.

Barrett then moved to Houston, then to Los Angeles and, in 2016, to New York, where he was sued in 2021. Opus Dei does not know the result of that legal process. The Archdiocese of New York has not responded to EL PAÍS’s request for comment. In any case, Opus Dei claims that there are no complaints against Barrett for abuses in Spain.

Jorge Washington Córdova Hernández

The Ecuadorian priest is accused of up to 12 cases of sexual abuse in the United States, where he formed a group with the traits of a sect. He fled the country in 2005 when the allegations came to light. He was tracked down and arrested in Guadarrama, Madrid, in 2007. Then, the trail goes cold.

This Ecuadorian priest was a preacher of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement. He even recorded religious songs. Formerly assigned to the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, Córdova Hernández was accused of abusing 10 minors in 2005 in Yuma, Arizona and two more in Maricopa, Arizona, between 1988 and 1991. He had formed a kind of sect made up of young women and girls, called Virgins Consecrated — he had them dress up in blue and held initiation ceremonies, where he would cut locks from their hair. In 2019, he was included in the Diocese of Tucson’s list of credibly accused abusers.

Following the complaints, he fled the U.S. in 2005. After a two-year-long search, he was arrested in 2007, in Spain, at the age of 51. Spain’s National Police located him in Guadarrama, in the province of Madrid, when he was giving a seminar in the Fray Luis de Leon Cultural & Residential Complex, owned by the Augustinians. However, according to the American press, the extradition never ultimately took place. The Archdiocese of Madrid claims that he doesn’t appear in their records and that he was able to travel to Spain on his own, without the permission of his diocese of origin in Ecuador. Nothing is known about his subsequent activities, except that he registered himself as a freelancer in Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, in the freight transport business. He died in 2018.

Patrick O’Leary

O’Leary is an Irish priest ordained in Oviedo, in northern Spain, who then moved to the United States. Accused of abuse in 1992, he moved back to Oviedo, where the authorities lost track of him.

O’Leary is a priest of Irish origin, although he was ordained in Oviedo, in northern Spain, according to data from U.S. media. He was removed from his parish in 1992, at the age of 33, because superiors deemed him to have “a pattern of inappropriate behavior” that made him a potential risk to children. According to media reports, he then returned to Oviedo. The Archdiocese of Oviedo explains that “this priest left [the principality of Asturias] in 1987, requested excardination [a transfer] from the diocese… [this transfer] was granted in 1989.” The religious institution assures EL PAÍS that it has no documents regarding his whereabouts post-1987 and that there are no complaints against him of any kind. His present location is still unknown.

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The Strange, Armored Dinosaurs That Once Populated South America




About 100 million years ago, Patagonia was home to one of the largest carnivores that has ever existed: the Giganotosaurus carolinii. Between 39 and 42-feet-long and weighing nearly seven tons, this dinosaur was somewhat larger than even the mythical Tyrannosaurus rex. In fact, the two go up against each other in the Jurassic World movie saga.

In 1993, amateur fossil hunter Rubén Carolini discovered the first fossil of this lethal predator. And, in the 30 years since, Argentine Patagonia has become a mecca for paleontological research and scientific tourism. Considered to be a sort of dinosaur factory, the region has the most important paleontological collection in South America, where more than 30 new types of dinosaurs from the late-Cretaceous period — between 90 and 100 million years ago — have been discovered. In the middle of the desert landscape, museums dedicated to these prehistoric reptiles flourish. Meanwhile, fabulous discoveries continue to be made in the area, constantly changing what we think about the evolution of dinosaurs on the continent of South America.

The latest of these surprising finds is the new species named Jakapil kaniukura, which means “stone crest” or “shield bearer” in the ancestral languages of northern Argentine Patagonia. This armored dinosaur was no bigger than a domestic dog. Less than five-feet-tall and weighing between eight and 15 pounds, it was a herbivore. It also had much shorter front legs than hind legs, which indicates that it could run semi-upright, making it easier to flee from the fearsome Giganotosaurus, a fellow inhabitant of Patagonia.

The discovery of this species begins a new genus within the Thyreophora, the group of plant-eating dinosaurs characterized by the armor that covers the dorsal and upper part of the reptilian body. The best-known of this genus is the Stegosaurus — with pentagonal plates on a spine topped with thick spikes — as well as the Ankylosaurus, covered in a spiny carapace with a club at the tip of its tail.

Until recently, it was thought that these armored dinosaurs —who arose during the Jurassic period, between 145 and 200 million years ago — lived on the supercontinent of Laurasia, a huge landmass made up of present-day North America, Europe and China. Evolution led them to be quadrupeds: only the most primitive walked on two legs, like the Scutellosaurus. The discovery of the Jakapil, however, changes this story in three fundamental ways. We now know that Thyreophora continued to exist for a very long time after the Jurassic period (until the late-Cretaceous period) and spread to Gondwana, the supercontinent that contains present-day South America and Africa. We can also reason that this lineage probably underwent an evolutionary reduction of its front legs, as happened to other species, such as the Tyrannosaurus and the Giganotosaurus.

This new species lived in the hostility of the ancient Kokorkom desert, located in the current paleontological area of La Buitrera, in the Argentine province of Río Negro. There, all living things were thorny and hard, including the small Jakapil. To survive in this environment, it developed a high and robust jaw, which allowed it to eat whatever it found: seeds, succulent plants and even wood. Adorned with a stone crest, this peculiar jaw could also have served as a weapon of seduction; although for now, this is only conjecture.

The description of this specimen was published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2022, by Argentine researchers Facundo Riguetti and Sebastián Apesteguía, from the Félix de Azara Natural History Foundation, the Maimónides University in Buenos Aires and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). The Spaniard Xabier Pereda, from the University of the Basque Country, was also involved in the discovery.

The remains of 'Jakapil kaniukura' were found in the paleontological area of ​​La Buitrera, in Argentine Patagonia.
The remains of ‘Jakapil kaniukura’ were found in the paleontological area of ​​La Buitrera, in Argentine Patagonia.FUNDACIÓN AZARA – CONICET

None of the researchers expected much when they found the first remains in 2013. But everything changed six years later. “They were kept in storage for a while, [as we thought that] they could be from another animal, because a particular type of terrestrial crocodile once roamed this area… Since there were so many remains, it took until 2019 to finish cleaning them. Then, we began to see that the material wasn’t a crocodile, but rather, had striking, rare characteristics that we hadn’t seen in any other animal from that period of time in South America. As [the remains] were being cleaned, our eyes were becoming more and more open,” recalls Riguetti, from the province of Río Negro, in a video call with Apesteguía and Pereda, phoning in from Buenos Aires and the Basque Country respectively.

For the Spanish researcher, this discovery has been astonishing, especially considering the age of the fossil. “It corresponds to a lineage that was believed to be relict (a remnant of an ecosystem in regression). It would have been more logical [had it come from] the Jurassic period. That it appeared from [the Cretaceous era] is a real surprise. Probably, in Argentina and wider South America, [these remains] will continue to appear,” Pereda predicts.

The Kokorkom, which means “desert of bones” in the Indigenous Tehuelche language, was an extension of dunes of about 400-square-miles, nearly the surface area of the city of Rome. On that golden field, most of the world’s largest dinosaur bones — such as those of the Giganotosaurus and the Futalognkosaurus — vanished, but the smaller fossils that Apesteguía has been dusting off for the past 25 years have largely remained hidden below. He explains that the excavation site of La Buitrera “has preserved small skeletons very well. Every little animal, such as lizards, mice and little dinosaurs, that died in the desert was covered by the sand, [meaning that] they weren’t eaten by any scavenger carnivore.”

The site is one of the jewels of paleontology, because the quality of its fossil preservation is exceptional. “Big dinosaurs are everywhere, but the little animals that lived in the shadow of the giants are much more difficult to find. Of course, this happens in other parts of the world, such as the Gobi Desert (in China). For this reason, we usually refer to La Buitrera as the South American Gobi,” Apesteguía jokes.

During that bygone era, reptiles flew through the sky, stalking small creatures that desperately sought shelter. The numerous traces of caves are current evidence of how they tried to hide from threats, which came not only from the air, but also from the ground, where gigantic carnivorous dinosaurs, legged snakes and terrestrial crocodiles roamed.

Apesteguía lauds this cunning nature: “The desert is for specialists. Not any animal could live there. Probably the big dinosaurs passed through the desert without being affected too much, because they had enough reserves of water and food to cross it without blinking.”

But the little ones had to manage in another way. And hiding wasn’t always an option for the Jakapil, so bipedalism (standing upright) gave it a chance to quicken its pace. The researcher narrates this scenario as if he were observing it: “This little animal is living in an arid, open environment, where it cannot hide, and the predators are infinitely larger. The defense mechanism cannot be to hide or fight. Fast dinosaurs such as this one can eat in the open, keep an eye on their surroundings, and run away as soon as they see a predator approaching. It’s a logical response for that time and place.”

A scientific team spent days extracting the fossil, in the paleontological area of ​​La Buitrera, in Argentina Patagonia.
A scientific team spent days extracting the fossil, in the paleontological area of ​​La Buitrera, in Argentina Patagonia.FUNDACIÓN AZARA – CONICET

When living conditions are harsh, the risk of dying is high. Being quick and thorny helps, but it’s not quite enough. For the species to survive, a large family is necessary. “In the Kokorkom [desert], there are many individual specimens from just a few species, [which is] precisely a characteristic of current deserts as well. We’re not going to find too many species there, but many individuals from a few species.” In La Buitrera, researchers have already discovered 400 or 500 specimens of sphenodontia, about 15 specimens of snakes with legs, as well as some turkey vultures. “We know that there are remains [of the Jakapil] in other places, so we assume that at least three or four more will contribute [to their complete] skeletons,” the paleontologist speculates.

The researchers plan to continue to analyze the teeth, legs and armor in detail, with the goal of better understanding how this vegetarian dinosaur lived and whether the bony plates were related to temperature regulation, self-defense, or courtship.

The mere appearance of this species has already transformed what was known about armored dinosaurs in terms of their expansion in time and space. This will lead to a review of the information available regarding other groups of dinosaurs.

“A bug that appears where we didn’t expect it changes a lot of things; it changes the context. In South America, the Thyreophora were practically unknown, or there was very little record of them, until the appearance of the Jakapil. This tells us that more discoveries could be expected, and not just from armored dinosaurs. Because if these animals [were living in this part of the world], it could easily mean that [other species] lived in this territory — we just didn’t know about it,” Riguetti notes with enthusiasm.

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Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Find A New Home In The Land Of ‘El Chapo’




A group of tigers and lions who are recovering from malnutrition and injuries are temporarily agitated by the sounds of machinery. A few feet away from where they are trying to rest, bulldozers are shifting earth in the Ostok Sanctuary, in the city of Culiacán, the capital of the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. The engines roar as workers build a pond, in which 10 descendants of Pablo Escobar’s famous pet hippos will be living.

From the Colombian region of Antioquia, the animals will travel by plane to Culiacán, in an operation that will cost $450,000. This is all being financed by the conservationist Ernesto Zazueta, who owns the animal shelter. Once the hippos land in Sinaloa, they will travel by road until they take the detour that leads to Jesús María, the bastion where the children of El Chapo Guzmán were hiding until recently. A few miles from the entrance to the refuge, black spots on the asphalt can still be seen. These marks were left behind from the cars that were torched by El Chapo’s henchmen in January of this year, as vengeance for the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán, one of the drug lord’s sons. Pablo Escobar’s hippos will soon arrive in this land, the stronghold of the Sinaloa Cartel.

When Colombia’s most infamous drug trafficker brought four specimens of Nile hippos from Africa to his private zoo at the Hacienda Nápoles in Antioquia, he couldn’t imagine the consequences. Following his death in 1993, the property fell into disrepair. The animals crossed the boundaries of the land, spreading through the Magdalena River and reproducing without control in a habitat that had no natural predators. From the four hippos he kept as pets in the 1980s, at least 169 descendants have now been identified. They cause traffic accidents, damage crops and occasionally harm the local fauna. The communities of the Colombian region have long been asking for a solution. But how can you control a population of highly-territorial animals that can weigh up to three tons, can eat 40 kilos of vegetation a day and are a major tourist attraction?

An Asian elephant named Big Boy eats alongside other animals in his habitat at the Ostok Sanctuary.
An Asian elephant named Big Boy eats alongside other animals in his habitat at the Ostok Sanctuary.Iñaki Malvido

The latest incident, in which a hippo was run over on a highway in Antioquia, led Governor Aníbal Gaviria Correa to demand a quick response from the Colombian minister of the environment regarding the fate of the hippos. Minister Susana Muhamad replied that the authorities are working to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The governor explained that the temporary measure of sterilizing the hippos wasn’t fast enough to control the population, yet the procedures to transfer them to another location were being delayed far longer than expected. Minister Muhamad noted that the transfer processes were being carefully studied, so as not to end up “exporting the hippos without verifying all the requirements and causing a problem elsewhere.”

Ernesto Zazueta, a Sinaloan businessman with a long history as a facilitator of services for zoos in Mexico, offered to host 10 specimens in his animal sanctuary. In addition, he has found a shelter in India that will care for another 60 of the hippos. “We’re going to bring the youngest we find, to reduce the birth rate in Colombia, which is very high,” the conservationist explains. He assures EL PAÍS that the hippos are already being coaxed with bait, so that they will fall into harmless traps that will make it possible to move them. The ultimate goal is to try to return the Nile hippos to their original habitat in Africa, as Zazueta has already done with other species that he has rescued from circuses, private collections, and other abusive spaces. Of course, the hippos will first have to spend a long time in Ostok.

The transfer of animals is one of the containment strategies recommended by researchers from the National University of Colombia and the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute — a proposal still being studied by the Colombian government. Another recommendation is to confine them in spaces with less freedom of movement to reduce mating. The most drastic and controversial measure they suggest is “control hunting.” It was already tried in 2009, when the government hired two German hunters who, accompanied by soldiers, shot Pepe, the first hippopotamus in the herd. The photograph of the group, which treated the corpse of the animal as a trophy, generated widespread repudiation.

One of the sanctuary’s watchmen observes the construction of the pond where the 10 hippos will be be living.
One of the sanctuary’s watchmen observes the construction of the pond where the 10 hippos will be be living.Iñaki Malvido

The death of the animals is what Zazueta is trying to avoid. “We want to rescue them because being an invasive species, they can be annihilated… [The Antioquian locals] may even receive permits to hunt them,” the businessman warns. He isn’t worried that bringing a dozen specimens will lead to the same problem of overpopulation in Mexico. “[In Colombia], they let them loose, lying around. That’s why they reproduce uncontrollably. And these animals are classified as being at-risk, so it also doesn’t make any sense to castrate them,” he stresses. The hippos that arrive in Culiacán will live in an enclosed area with a pool of water and caretakers. But they will not be sterilized or visited, as the Ostok Sanctuary is closed to the public to ensure stress-free and effective rehabilitation for the animals.

The herd will join Freddy, the only hippo living in the sanctuary at the moment. Zazueta proudly looks at the young animal, who is frolicking in a provisional pond. The new space that is being built will be incorporated into the more than 100 hectares of land that are sheltered by a landscape of dry trees between hills. With the rains, the dry land will eventually be transformed into a green space with natural shade to provide shelter for its inhabitants. Meanwhile, Zazueta and his team have built structures that provide shade.

Zazueta has only been bringing animals here for two years, but that’s been enough time to gather 450 specimens, ranging from big cats — such as panthers and jaguars — to small spider monkeys. Most are rescued from circuses, species traffickers, or private collections. They usually arrive wounded and traumatized. Others, such as Freddy, come from zoos that can’t take care of them anymore. “[Freddy] and his father could have had a very ugly fight over territory… It’s better we brought him here,” the rescuer notes.

Before he established Ostok, Zazueta moved animals from one zoo to another, while advising companies and institutions on appropriate wildlife management. With the 2015 change to the law in Mexico that prohibited circuses with animals, dozens of them were abandoned by their owners. At first, Zazueta was able to relocate some. But in the case of Big Boy, an elephant, he found no other solution than to open his own sanctuary for his rehabilitation. Big Boy had become accustomed to being immobile, with one leg constantly tied to a stick in the terrible circus conditions. Now, he’s much improved, constantly demanding cookies from Zazueta. After Big Boy, more species arrived, such as the birds that were rescued during a 2020 government raid that saw officials free 16,00 animals from wild animal traffickers in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City.

The most recent achievement was bringing 35 big cats rescued from the Black Jaguar-White Tiger Refuge, a space that went viral on social media and was visited by celebrities such as Lewis Hamilton and Justin Bieber. Last year, Mexico’s Prosecutor’s Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa) closed the place due to reports of malnutrition and mistreatment of the cats. The animals who arrived at Ostok were malnourished, and several had been mutilated.

However, after 10 months of rehabilitation, they have gained weight and some have even had babies. They were recently joined by a specimen that was rescued in Michoacán: an adult tiger who, while in the possession of criminals, was wounded by a bullet in a confrontation between armed groups.

Ernesto Zazueta, the director of Ostok, at the sanctuary’s facilities near the city of Culiacán, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
Ernesto Zazueta, the director of Ostok, at the sanctuary’s facilities near the city of Culiacán, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.Iñaki Malvido

Zazueta explains that he has business partners who help him finance the expenses of the animals via donations. When he took in all the tigers, Farmacias Similares — a national chain of pharmacies — helped him build an enclosure on the property. For daily expenses, such as the many pounds of meat required by the big cats, he ensures that local companies — such as Su Carne or Bachoco — donate entire trucks worth of food. And, every few days, one of his employees leaves with a truck to tour the fields of Sinaloa in search of fruits and vegetables that the farmers may want to donate. With these donations, he covers half of the expenses, while the other half comes from his own pocket. “I have several companies, such as a legal advisory firm. I’m also the president of the United Association for Sustainable Management of Biodiversity and the Association of Zoos, Hatcheries and Aquariums of Mexico,” he adds.

His partners in India will cover the two planes that will transfer the other 60 hippos, an operation that amounts to $3.5 million. The commercial flight to Sinaloa, which costs nearly half-a-million, will be financed by Zazueta, although there’s still no specific date for the long-awaited arrival. Zazueta blames the Colombian bureaucracy.

“I’m desperate, because I want it to be done now, and I’m under pressure from India,” the rescuer laments. Regarding Minister Susana Muhamad’s statements, the businessman reproaches her for wanting to interfere in the process in Mexico. “She’s not in charge here, and she doesn’t have to get involved. That’s the problem. [The Colombian authorities] are unaware of everything, and they have the gall to complain,” he sighs. Meanwhile, it will be Freddy who inaugurates the great pond, while waiting for his future Colombian neighbors.

Diego García, director of the Culiacán Zoo and a supporter of the Ostok Sanctuary, closes the gate as he leaves the sanctuary’s grounds.
Diego García, director of the Culiacán Zoo and a supporter of the Ostok Sanctuary, closes the gate as he leaves the sanctuary’s grounds.Iñaki Malvido

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