.- On Sunday, the vice president of the Venezuelan Bishops Conference, Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, denied that bishops are accomplices of supposed plans by the opposition to foster violence.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Rodriguez accused the Diocesan Institute of Maracay of planning a protest that took place last Monday and demanded the bishopsâ conference disclose whether or not it knew of the plan. He threatened the bishops with a lawsuit and suggested they were responsible for the death of one protestor.
Archbishop Luckert said the accusations were merely an act of desperation. âThey are desperate (in the government) and they are looking for enemies where there are none,â he said. âThe Bishopsâ Conference has never been an enemy but always a friend of Venezuela and collaborates with the government however possible,â the archbishop said.
He also expressed his concern over the âlack of seriousnessâ that led the government to make these accusations, adding that the statements by Rodriguez are intended âto create an atmosphere of violence before the referendum, in order to justify anything.â The archbishop reiterated the bishopsâ opinion that Chavezâs constitutional reform is âmorally unacceptable.â
âThe president invited all Venezuelans to speak their minds about the reform. He doesnât like that? Well, too bad,â Archbishop Luckert said. âWe express our opinion, but it should be answered with arguments and not with criticism,â he stressed.
Last week Chavez called the bishops âbums, criminals and sloths.â