These new cardinals include prelates from 11 dioceses and six countries that have never before had a cardinal, and from places far outside the traditional European orbit of ecclesiastical influence: Albania, for example, plus the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
But the real surprise in these picks, as in past appointments, is that they came as a complete surprise to many of the new cardinals themselves, and to the pope’s closest collaborators.
Protesters converged on Managua in February with brooms in hand to "sweep out" corrupt public officials. Organized by CEPAD, the Nicaraguan Council of Protestant Churches, thousands marched to municipal offices and courts to present documentation detailing the theft by government officials of $1.7 billion of public funds. CEPAD director Damaris Albuquerque said
When I look into the eyes of Eugene Hasenfus, I see a man who is scared, helpless, and trapped. Eugene Hasenfus [was] the first American caught in the net, the first American who [fell] into the pit we dug in Nicaragua...[and he wasn't] the last.
An Interview with Penny Lernoux