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Chavez: The Church should respect the State

January 10, 2007

I was not able to find these news in English, so here is my translation from El Universal. The question is: should the Church be silent at the brink of a new socialist government?

After being sworn in, during his inauguration speech, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, indicated that the State has powers, and that there are some who “attempt, through pressure and blackmail, using institutions as covers, and even through personalities” to reject these powers.

“That is why Mr. Cardinal, with all due respect, I can’t understand the Catholic Church’s position or at least that of the hierarchy. The State respects the Church; therefore, the Church should respect the State”, said to the Cardinal Urosa Savino, present at the inauguration ceremony.

This past weekend, the Church exhorted the administration to reconsider the decision of not renewing the concession to RCTV.

(RCTV is a national TV station considered to be on the extreme right by the government. However, when he talks about the “socialism of the 21st century,” anyone is on the right-wing according to the administration. TV station concessions are now renewed by the Executive Power, according to new laws. If the concession is not renewed, the TV station would still be operating, but only available through cable subscription. This issue is important for the public in Venezuela and also for the Church, because is just another sample of Chavez’s attempt to exert control over the public media, utility companies, private property, among others.)

And today, in response to the religious sector, Chavez was puzzled when he was not able to understand the attitude the position of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and qualified the decision of not renewing the license to the private channel as “very simple.”

“I would not like to go back to the times of confrontation with the Venezuelan bishops, but is not my choice, is that of the Venezuelan bishops. I will be here with my fire, defending the sovereignty of the State, the rights of the State. They are inalienable and unsubstitutable.”

Funny. He does not speak in the same fashion about human rights as he does about the State’s rights, especially when he encourages invasion of private property.

The President expressed strong words with respect to Monsignor Roberto Lücker, Bishop of Coro. He said that the prelate will not go to heaven. He will go “to hell.” “He will wait for me in hell. Monsignor Lücker will go to hell.”

He accused him of being an “oligarch” and of “violating” the figure of a head of State. “May God forgive him. That is not God’s way. Forgive him Lord, he doesn’t know, maybe he doesn’t know what he says.”

The head of State, said that the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, has nothing to do with Venezuelan affairs, and that at least he should have called or requested a representative to talk directly with Chavez, but he fell “in the manipulation and blackmail.”

Insulza also recommended Chavez to reconsider his position against RCTV.


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