Chavez supporters invade chancery, expel employees and bishop

The militant Chavista Lina Ron who led the attack on the Archdiocese
The militant Chavista Lina Ron who led the attack on the Archdiocese

.- A group of Hugo Chavez supporters (Chavistas) violently took over the chancery of the Archdiocese of Caracas for several hours to stage a protest against the Catholic Church and the only standing independent TV station, Globovision.

The group of 15 Chavistas, some of them wearing masks, were led into the Church's premises by Lina Ron, a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela –a political front for supporters of president Hugo Chavez- and a well-known street demonstrator.

The demonstrators violently expelled the officials working at the chancery, including Bishop Jesús González de Zárate, who was installed as an auxiliary bishop of Caracas a month ago.

The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino, was not at the chancery at the moment of the attack.

After taking control of the chancery, Lina Ron read a manifesto which the condemned the Catholic Church for its alleged support of the April 2002 failed coup attempt against President Chavez.

Chavez followers claim that the late Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, supported the attempt against Chavez, but allegations that Velasco and the Venezuelan bishops were involved have strongly and repeatedly been denied.

Ron also accused the Apostolic Nunciature of being "counterrevolutionary," for giving political refugee to Nixon Moreno, a university student that lead several demonstrations against Chavez until he was declared a criminal by the government.

But the demonstrator's main target was the last standing independent TV station Globovision. "We would like to put a bomb on it, but we will leave that to anyone's initiative," Ron said in her manifesto.

The Chavista leader demanded that the state organization that regulates airwaves, CONATEL, "take action against the TV station.

Before leaving the Chancery, Lina Ron shouted: "with the commander (Chavez) everything, without the commander, lead (meaning bullets.)"


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