Speaking from Rome where he is attending a previously scheduled meeting, the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, responded to the attacks by President Hugo Chavez against him and the bishops on July 5, saying the leader “has no right to insult, defame or slander any Venezuelan.”
In a statement released by the Archdiocese of Caracas, Cardinal Urosa said, “On various occasions [Chavez] has verbally attacked me, unjustly exposing me to public mockery. I totally reject those attacks, which are unbecoming of the person who is making them.”
The cardinal then warned against the dangers that Venezuela now faces.
“I have made statements that have been reported by the media on my own accord and without pressure from anyone, but strictly following the voice of my conscience as a Venezuelan and as the Archbishop of Caracas amidst the reality we are experiencing. Unfortunately, instead of reflecting and thinking about the arguments I have laid out and correcting his behavior, the president limits himself to discrediting and offending me.”
Cardinal Urosa warned that the Chavez government is leading the country towards “a dictatorship” founded upon the Marxist ideology “that the president himself has openly proclaimed on repeated occasions.”
“Such conduct is unconstitutional and illegal, but above all, attacks the human, civil and political rights of Venezuelans. The failure of Marxist Socialism in other countries is more than evident,” he added.
Power for naming bishops
Addressing another issue alluded to by Chavez, Cardinal Urosa said, “The naming of all the bishops of Venezuela and the world is in the hands of the Church, and concretely, in the hands of the Holy Father, after considerable consultation with the ecclesial community. Thank God it is not in the hands of politicians.”
Like all Christians, he continued, bishops “are peacemakers. For this reason, without any pretensions for power or becoming political operatives, we demand our right to speak out on everything that has to do with the life and future of the Venezuelan people. We want what is good, peaceful and beneficial for Venezuela, with opportunities for all, without exclusion, injustice and intolerance.”
Cardinal Urosa concluded his statement expressing thanks for the support he has received during recent days.