The archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, is demanding that President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela show more respect for the Church and her representatives, after he accused the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giacinto Berloco, of protecting a “criminal”—student leader Nixon Moreno—in the Nunciature.
During a speech to the National Assembly, Chavez said Church officials should “reflect,” and he criticized Archbishop Berloco for hiding a “criminal” at the Nunciature. Moreno has been taking refuge at the Nuncio’s residence since March of 2007.
“We deserve to be respected by officials and by the president as well, who the Apostolic Nuncio, Giacinto Berloco, and I have treated with all due respect….We deplore his attacks, offenses and lack of understanding,” Cardinal Urosa said.
Likewise, he recalled that mechanisms exist for the government to make known its complaints. “These requests or criticisms can be made with having to insult Church officials,” he pointed out.
Nixon Moreno has been taking refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature since March of 2007, after government prosecutors accused him of attempted murder and assault during a student protest in 2006. The 33 year-old finished his studies while staying at the nunciature and was given his degree at the end of last year.
Opposition leaders consider the accusations against Moreno to be nothing more than political persecution by the government.