Venezuela bishop slams Rice "lies"

Venezuelan Archbishop Roberto Luckert has slammed comments by Condoleezza Rice as "lies" after the US Secretary of State claimed that the Venezuelan Church was "under fire" from President Chavez and that American officials have met with Venezuelan Catholic authorities.

Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro in Falcon state, and vice-president of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV), has claimed that the Dr Rice lied when she said that there were meetings with Venezuelan bishops supporting her criticisms against President Hugo Chavez' Government, El Universal reports.

"This lady was way out of line when she said such things that are not true. This is a lie," the Archbishop said.

"I am the Vice-President of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference and I have never felt that we have been invited or asked for a hearing with the board of directors of the CEV to say what this lady claims," he said.

The prelate told local radio station Union Radio that the CEV board of directors met recently, and "it has not talked about the fact that the US Ambassador to Venezuela (William Brownfield) or any other US official is concerned about us. I think this lady was very clumsy" to speak otherwise, Archbishop Luckert added.

In addition to her comments on the Church, Dr Rice also said democracy is under attack in Venezuela.

In response, the prelate said that President Chavez is trying to impose in Venezuela a political system similar to that in place in Cuba, particularly in education.

"The concept of education being implemented is that of Cuba, which involves an outrage against the provisions set forth in the Constitution as to what education should be in a democratic country, namely a free and plural education," Archbishop Luckert claims.

The Archbishop has a history of verbal clashes with President Chavez. The prelate has even said he fears reprisals because of his criticisms against "the savage state-centred rule they are trying to impose in this country."

Monsignor Lückert dismisses Condoleezza Rice's remarks (El Universal, 8/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Condoleezza Rice (Wiikipedia)
Condoleezza Rice Biography (US White House)
Episcopal Conference of Venezuela

See you in hell, Venezuela's Chavez tells Archbishop (CathNews, 18/1/07)
Former revolutionary wins over Church in Nicaraguan election victory (CathNews, 9/11/06)

9 Feb 2007

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