.- On Sunday, Venezuela’s Cardinal Rosalio Castillo, who has been a vocal critic of that country’s president, Hugo Chavez, called the leader a “paranoid dictator” and said there is no democracy in Venezuela. In an interview Sunday, the Cardinal told the colombian newspaper El Tiempo, that Chavez’s government is despotic and accused him of rounding up some 100 political prisoners and torturing some.
Last month, Cardinal Castillo said that Chavez was gaining too much power and becoming a dictator. In turn, Chavez blasted the Cardinal calling him a “bandit” who has “the devil in him.”
Chavez insists he is a democratic leader and is widely favored for re-election next year.
The 82-year old Cardinal said that his statements were not personal but reflected the position of church leaders across Venezuela. "The difference is in the way it's said,” he pointed out. “There are those who speak diplomatically, and others like me who speak clearly so that everyone understands."
The Church has continually been the strongest critic of Chavez, who calls himself a self-styled “revolutionary.”
When asked by El Tiempo whether he would send a blessing to the president, Cardinal Castillo said, “more than a blessing, I’d give him an exorcism.”