CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Young and old people filled the streets and chanted "Pope, our friend, with Venezuela till the end." 72 hours of celebration filled the streets upon John Paul II's visit. After the democratic election of President Julio María Sanguinetti in Uruguay, impasses of the past are overcome. Nature shocked the world, and a 120-second earthquake struck Mexico City, leaving behind mourning and pain throughout the Mexican capital. In Colombia, one man's failure to see the signs given by the Nevado del Ruiz volcano caused the town of Armero to vanish
President Jaime Lusinchi welcomes Pope John Paul II at the Maiquetía International Airport File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation / Vicente Correale
On January 26, 1985, Pope John Paul II visited Venezuela. It was the first time ever that the leader of the Catholic Church set foot on Venezuelan soil. The visit of his Holiness was delayed for a year, as it was originally scheduled in the midst of an electoral campaign, and it was feared that his presence would favor then reigning party Copei.
During his actual visit, John Paul II condemned divorce, abortion, sterilization and euthanasia while claiming that the family is the core of society.
In only 72 hours, he held mass in Caracas, Maracaibo and Mérida. The most memorable moment of the visit was during a mass in Ciudad Guayana as a young child named Adrián Guacarán captivated the pope with his singing.
This was an important year for Uruguay and Argentina. As a candidate, Julio María Sanguinetti visited Venezuela, and on the 1st of March he would become president of Uruguay after 12 years of strict dictatorship.
In Argentina, President Ricardo Alfonsín ordered trials against former members of military juntas, a move that forever marked the history of Latin America.
Meanwhile, in Bogotá, one of the darkest political events of Belisario Betancur's government was perpetrated by guerrilla organization M-19: the siege of the Palace of Justice. The crisis came to an end 28 hours later, leaving a toll of 55 dead, including 11 judges, and 10 missing persons.
1985 also marked the end of the Soviet Union as Mikhail Gorbachov became Secretary General of the Communist Party. The reforms proposed were known as uskoreniye (acceleration), glasnot (liberalization) and perestroika (restructuring). On November 19, the Cold War came to an end after a meeting between Mikhail Gorbachov and then US President Ronald Reagan.
Nature released its wrath over Mexico and Colombia. On September 19, an earthquake struck the Mexican capital, leaving 10,000 dead, 150,000 homeless and 53,000 buildings damaged. The Colombian city of Armero, in the Tolima Department, vanished as the Nevado del Ruiz volcano caused an avalanche, killing 25,000 people. This tragedy could have been avoided, had authorities heeded volcanologists' warnings.
Two historical findings also took place. Oceanographer Robert Ballard used the Argos submarine to locate the Titanic wreckage. In the meantime, in Brazil, a DNA analysis performed on the grave of Pedro Gerhard confirmed the finding of the remains of Nazi Josef Mengele known as the notorious "Angel of Death," who lived in that country from the end of the war until his death in 1979.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
We are giving our readers a sample of the work “100 Years, 100 Pages,” to be available soon. On your left hand side, you will find a page of El Universal featuring what we consider the news of the year. The opposite page is a collage of reports and advertising that show significant events occurring that year.
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