In statements to the Catholic News Agency, Auxiliary Bishop Jesus Gonzalez de Zarate of Caracas recounted how a group of young people led by a well-known Chavez activist, occupied the archdiocesan chancery on Wednesday in order to get the attention of the media and demand that the TV station Globovision be shut down.
According to the bishop, “shortly before 9am, a group of young people who identified themselves as students stormed into the chancery and went into all of the offices, saying they were going to peacefully occupy the chancery and warning employees to leave.”
The activists gathered together all of the employees “near the door, blocking the entrance, and at one point they tried to disconnect the telephone system, insisting that their ‘peaceful’ occupation was intended to publicly present a statement of their positions on different issues facing the country, including some related to the Church,” Bishop Gonzalez said.
The group of activists said they planned to occupy the chancery for two hours. “I began to talk with them to try to get them to drop that idea,” the bishop continued, saying he offered them the chance to discuss their grievances. They refused to talk with him and instead continued to occupy the chancery until the media showed up and they were able to voice their positions. Afterwards, they left the building.
“Even though I invited them to talk, to discuss, to exchange opinions about matters of the Church, they were not receptive. What they wanted was to do it in public. They used the windows of the second floor of the chancery to shout slogans and show signs displaying their positions,” the bishop added.
Bishop Gonzalez stressed that violence is not the way to overcome the “climate of tension” that has enveloped the country. He called on everyone to understand “the need to exhaust all means of dialogue,” and he reiterated the call for national reconciliation repeatedly made by the bishops’ conference.