The celebrations held in Roma for the new Pope usually drive a large number of VIPs in town, nothing unusual giving the political weight of the Holy See and its relative importance on the religious side (there are a bit more than one billion of christians worldwide). Nowadays for Pope Francis we got the same old show running around, with thousand of journalist everywhere and scores of incoming VIPs all around.
It’s one hell of a political photo opportunity, a way to be seen from billions. Useful for the likes of Joe Biden, the american VP who still hopes for a chance in 2016, for leaders in a desperate search for public approval like Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and many others. Now, look at his man. Do you who is?
No less than Robert Gabriel Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, who’s under a travel-ban in Europe with an exception for Un-related events (like the FAO meeting in Rome some years ago). Italy has been forced to admit Mugabe inside the country for the lack of a Holy See-operated airport. The Holy See in not in the EU and Italy got an allegation (named “concordato”) to operate as hub for the visitors in going or outgoing Vatican City.
Zimbabwe can be described as a catholic country, that’s for sure, but the opportunity of the presence of Mr. Mugabe raise a lot of question inside and outside the limits of Vatican City. For a Pope like Francis who’s setting up the milestones of his papacy could be quite embarrassing to face a first-class criminal like Mr. Mugabe. It will be also a problem for the diplomats of the Holy See to keep him away from the european and american dignitaries.