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Pro-Chávez Vandals Try Intimidation on Church
Nation Prepares to Vote on Governors and Mayors

ICC Note: This story is cause for concern as the government in Venezuela has put restrictions on churches before.

11/20/08 CARACAS, Venezuela ( – Churchgoers in the Venezuelan state of Barinas arrived to Mass on Sunday to find their churches covered with pro-government and anti-clerical graffiti, just a week before local elections.

According to various local news reports, the vandals painted the walls of the majority of the state’s churches with phrases like “out with the bishop” and “homeland, socialism or death.”

The graffiti was partially in retaliation for actions taken by Bishop Ramón Linares Sandoval of Barinas to protect the property of the diocesan seminary. He had informed the press a week ago that members of community councils and militants of the socialist party had gone to the seminary to try to take over the grounds and buildings, alleging that the seminary lacked permits.

Ecclesial authorities spoke with the assailants, but the threat remains that at any time, socialist forces could take over the property. Bishop Linares Sandoval promised to inform the public if the seminary was seized in such an arbitrary manner… [Go To Full Story]