.- The president of the Venezuelan Plenary Council, Bishop Ovidio Perez Morales, condemned the recent attacks on the Apostolic Nunciature in Caracas and said the government is responsible in part, as from President Hugo Chavez on down officials have fostered a hostile environment. He also said the attacks reveal that the Nunciature is not being protected according to established norms.
Speaking on Union Radio, Bishop Perez said the incident merits strong condemnation from the Church and from Venezuelans in general, as it is part of pattern of aggression against the Nunciature, which Catholics see as the Pope’s home in Venezuela much more than a simple diplomatic office.
He said the attacks prove the government is not doing its part to protect foreign embassies in Venezuela and that the hostile environment that has made such attacks possible has been created by officials in government from President Hugo Chavez on down.
Bishop Perez said the bishops would lodge a formal protest, adding that Catholics in general “should demand respect for their religious leaders.”
He also went on to question the Venezuelan government’s involvement in foreign affairs, such as the guerrilla problem in Colombia, while refusing to engage in dialogue in its own country. “We live in a continuous climate of threats and terror,” he said.
“Those who go from this side of the desk to the other to enter into government” forget about everything they went through to get there, Bishop Perez stated, adding that the Church should be respected in her work for peace, justice and her option for the weak.”