The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino, blamed the government of Venezuela for the lack of security and negligence that allowed a group of Chavez activists to occupy the archdiocesan chancery for more than three hours on Wednesday.
“This escalation of violence must cease, and that falls to the government. Everyone must collaborate to bring about peace, harmony and unity. Differences need to be resolved through dialogue and democracy,” the cardinal told the TV network Globovision, which the activists demanded be shut down.
The group of activists were led by Lina Ron, a well-known Chavez supporter.
Cardinal Urosa lamented that his phone calls to government officials protesting the occupation went unanswered, and he demanded “respect for the Church.” He said the events of Wednesday were linked to verbal attacks on the Church recently made by some officials over the bishops’ call for greater amnesty and for authentic respect for democratic practices.
“It’s not a coincidence that the other day high-level government officials verbally attacked the Church and me and today this happens,” the cardinal said.
On Mondaym Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin criticized the Apostolic Nuncio for giving asylum to Richard Nixon Moreno, a college-aged opposition leader branded a “fugitive of justice” by the government.
Cardinal Urosa warned, “The government is losing control of things,” and he called for “cordiality and serenity.”
During their takeover, the group of activists read a statement denouncing an alleged complicity between the private media, oligarchic sectors and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to provoke the fall of President Hugo Chavez.
Lina Ron warned that this complicity made these entities “the target of revolutionary groups,” although she did not specify what actions would be taken against them.
The occupation of the chancery coincided with the celebration by Chavez supporters of the anniversary of a popular uprising on February 27, 1989 against the government of then-president Carlos Andres Perez.