Chávez's gov't ready to restore climate of respect with the Church
Government officials met with Venezuelan bishops at the headquarters of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV) in Montalbán, southwest Caracas. President Hugo Chávez telephoned Monsignor Diego Padrón, the President of the CEV
The leaders of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV) met on Tuesday morning at the headquarters of the CEV in Montalbán, southwest Caracas, with senior officials of the government of President Hugo Chávez. This was their first rapprochement following tensions between the Executive Office and the Catholic Church in recent years.
The representatives of President Chávez at the meeting were Executive Vice President Elías Jaua, Minister of the Interior and Justice Tarek El Aissami, and Minister of Youth Mary Pili Hernández. They met with President of the CEV Monsignor Diego Padrón and other bishops taking part in the regular meeting of the CEV that began last Saturday.
During the meeting, Chávez made a telephone call to Monsignor Padrón, who was pleased with Chávez's move.
"Beyond the disagreements, (we want) to restore a climate of mutual institutional respect and political respect between the two institutions. Most of us who support President Chávez are members of the Catholic community (...)," said Jaua.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."