Catholic Church blasts Venezuela for 'brutal repression' of protesters

CARACAS Wed Apr 2, 2014 7:46pm EDT

Venezuelas opposition leader Maria Corina Machado runs away from tear gas after she tries to take her seat at the national assembly in Caracas April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Venezuelas opposition leader Maria Corina Machado runs away from tear gas after she tries to take her seat at the national assembly in Caracas April 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Roman Catholic Church accused President Nicolas Maduro's government on Wednesday of "totalitarian" tendencies and "brutal repression" of demonstrators during two months of political unrest that has killed several dozen people.

The surprisingly strong attack is likely to revive church-state tensions that were constant during the 14-year socialist rule of Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

Monsignor Diego Padron, who heads Venezuela's conference of bishops, said the "principal cause" of the crisis was the government's attempt to implant a blueprint for government that Chavez left behind called "the fatherland plan."

"Within it they are hiding the promotion of a totalitarian-style system of government, putting in doubt its democratic credentials," he said, reading a church communiqué.

Though defending students' and others' right to protest, the Church condemned both the demonstrators' tactic of barricading roads and the state's "brutal repression" of dissidence.

Protesters have been on the streets since early February calling for Maduro's resignation and complaining about a litany of problems from rampant crime to food shortages.

The government says they are seeking a coup against Maduro.

Chavez for years painted Venezuela's Catholic hierarchy as being in league with his foes among the nation's political elite, and was furious at their endorsement of a brief-lived coup against him. Chavez died last year.

Until Wednesday, Venezuela's church had kept a relatively low profile over the recent unrest, and both sides had been mooting the possibility of mediation by a Vatican official.

The 39 fatalities have included government supporters, protesters and members of security forces.

Maduro says opposition media, international media, rights groups and the United States are trying to concoct an impression of state repression to put pressure on him.

"The government is wrong to want to solve the crisis by force," the Church statement added. "The solution is clear: sincere dialogue between the government and all sectors."

(Reporting by Eyanir Chinea; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (2)
This is the same Catholic church that will outlaw its members for divorce, being gay, using contraception, abortion, and a myriad of other mortal sins that will result in eternal fire in hell, unless you happen to be a priest, brother, Cardinal, Bishop, or nun involved in sex, raping children, stealing money, etc.?

Apr 02, 2014 12:14am EDT  --  Report as abuse
tom_mcewen wrote:
Well, any moment now the Catholic Spanish fleet will sail and crush the Queen and make popish slaves of freeborn Englishmen. It is the job of every Englishman to throw off the shackles of Rome, the Whore of Babylon and the seat of the Anti-Christ. That is what the British intake with their gruel and breakfast tea since the Reign of Elizabeth I. Henry VIII killed 72,000 defending the Church and Mary killed 200 and its bloody Mary they remember. There is no way that 440,000 priests and 1,300,000,000 Catholics could have a bad apple in the lot. There is no crime in small towns, nor corruption in the politicians and business leaders. The world is perfect except for the Catholics, they are guilty of the 16th century. Wait any time now will will welcome abortion SSM, woman Bishops and collapse will happen in the time it takes to hold your breath, inhale and hold.

Apr 04, 2014 7:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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