Caracas, Venezuela, May 21, 2007 / 08:29 am America/Denver (CNA).
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is demanding that Pope Benedict XVI apologize to the indigenous peoples of Latin America for having “denied” the “aboriginal holocaust” during his discourse inaugurating the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference.
“Something much more serious occurred here than during the holocaust of World War II, and nobody can deny that this is true, and neither can his Holiness come here, to our own land, and deny the aboriginal holocaust,” Chavez said over the weekend on Venezuelan radio and television.
“So, as a head of State, but clad in the humility of a Venezuelan farmworker, I implore his Holiness to apologize to the peoples of our America,” Chavez demanded.
Chavez said he paid close attention to everything the Pope said in Brazil, and that after hearing him say that the gospel was not imposed upon the natives, he called Venezuela’s Minister for the Indigenous Peoples, Nizia Maldonado, who said she did not share the Pope’s opinion and that it was “difficult to support, for God’s sake!”
“Is that why the Catholic Church is losing more believers every day?” Chavez said. “I think it’s because of this.”