Archbishop Jose Baltazar Porras of Merida, Venezuela, said this week that President Hugo Chavez is employing Messianism and creating conflicts with other countries in order to get Venezuelans to forget about “their painful reality, which consists of growing poverty, insecurity and unemployment.”

The archbishop says Chavez uses religious language in his speeches in attempt to link Christianity to Socialism.  Thus people end up believing Socialism is Christianity “incarnate.”  He said this was a propaganda tool Chavez is using “to get the people on his side.” 

Archbishop Porras said the Venezuelan president “gives people so-called answers in order to distract them from real problems.”  He also said the Church in Venezuela is being persecuted for rejecting the government’s policies.