Monsignor Roberto Lückert, Archbishop of Coro, Falcón
state, and vice-president of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference
(CEV), Thursday claimed that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice lied when she said that there were meetings with Venezuelan
bishops supporting her criticisms against President Hugo Chávez'
Government, Efe reported.
"This lady was way out of line when she said such things that are not true. This is a lie. 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," Monsignor Lückert said.
The prelate told local radio station Unión 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, Monsignor Lückert added.
On Wednesday, Rice claimed that the Venezuelan Catholic Church was "under fire" from President Chávez and that US officials have met with Venezuelan Catholic authorities.
Rice also said democracy is under attack in Venezuela. In this connection, Lückert stressed that Chávez 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," Lückert claimed.
Lückert has engaged in verbal clashes with Chávez. The prelate has even said he fears reprisals because of his criticisms against "the savage state-centered rule they are trying to impose in this country."
INTERVIEW "I was a kid from the Third World who came to teach Italians how to play opera." A succinct Diego Matheuz describes in this way his arrival at La Fenice of Venice, first as a guest conductor and later on as chief conductor. Matheuz is extremely modest, considering that a 26-year-old young man from a faraway tropical country stepped up to one of the most renowned opera theaters in Italy. "It was a big challenge; I gave it all. Thank God, we overcame," he adds when commenting his debut in October 2010 with Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. Four years later, and being still under 30, Diego seems to have fulfilled the highest expectations. He has led at least 15 major world orchestras; has appeared on various stages, and, together with Gustavo Dudamel, Christian Vásquez and Rafael Payare –the four mighty globetrotters of the System- is tied to the project pioneered by Master José Antonio Abreu 40 years ago.