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Thread: Cardinal accuses Hugo Chavez of persecuting foes

  1. #1
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Cardinal accuses Hugo Chavez of persecuting foes

    CARACAS, Venezuela — The leader of Venezuela's Roman Catholic Church accused the government of President Hugo Chavez on Monday of using judges and prosecutors to punish political adversaries.

    Cardinal Jorge Urosa said authorities are unfairly prosecuting Chavez opponents for simply criticizing the government.

    Urosa said an increasing number of Chavez's foes are being "imprisoned for their opinion" and he urged Venezuelans to speak out against "any violation of human rights." Human rights groups already have expressed concerns that Chavez is becoming increasingly authoritarian and cracking down on dissent.

    Chavez denies doing that. The president says he holds no sway over the justice system, but encourages authorities to uphold Venezuelan laws.

    Meanwhile, a Venezuelan lawmaker said Monday he was being prosecuted for his outspoken criticism of Chavez and his family and appealed for international support. Wilmer Azuaje said charges that he struck a police official are politically motivated and that Chavez intends to keep him from running for re-election and to silence him.

    "Chavez's goal is to eliminate me" from the political arena, he told The Associated Press.

    Over the past week, prosecutors brought criminal charges against Guillermo Zuloaga, the majority shareholder of Venezuela's lone anti-Chavez television channel, and opposition politician Oswaldo Alvarez Paz for making remarks that authorities deemed misleading and offensive to the president. Both deny any wrongdoing and say they stand by their statements.

    Zuloaga, owner of the TV channel Globovision, is facing charges for making what prosecutors consider false and "offensive" remarks about Chavez at an Inter American Press Association meeting in Aruba.

    Alvarez Paz, a former state governor, has been charged with conspiracy, spreading false information and publicly inciting crime after commenting during a TV interview that Venezuela has turned into a haven for drug traffickers, and also backing allegations by a Spanish judge that Venezuela has cooperated with the Basque separatist group ETA and Colombian rebels — accusations Chavez denies.

    Cardinal Urosa also called attention to the case of Maria Afiuni, a judge jailed on charges of corruption and abuse of power for freeing a high-profile banker. Afiuni denies breaking the law, and government critics argue her arrest in December shows the judiciary's lack of independence.

    In a case the cardinal did not mention, the lawmaker Azuaje has been accused of insulting a police official and striking her on the shoulder during an argument last week.

    Azuaje, a former Chavez ally, called on the Organization of American States to step in after pro-Chavez lawmakers voted to strip him of his immunity from prosecution — a rare step that in the past has usually been reserved for serious crimes.

    A court on Sunday ordered Azuaje suspended from his post and barred him from holding public office while he is being tried. But Azuaje told the AP he aims to run for re-election in September's congressional elections.

    "I'm going to do it because I haven't committed any crime," Azuaje said. "This is a political trial."

    The legislator, who is from Chavez's home state of Barinas, has long complained of harassment by authorities and violent incidents that he believes are in retaliation for his allegations of corruption and nepotism against Chavez's family. Relatives of the president deny the accusations.

    Azuaje claims he and his family have been the targets of repeated violence aimed at pressuring him to halt his accusations against the president's relatives. In a shooting last year, hooded gunmen sprayed his Caracas home with bullets, injuring two neighbors. Azuaje contends the gunmen were trying to kill him, but police called it an attempted robbery.

    Months earlier, one of his brothers, Cesar, was gunned down at a service station in Barinas. Azuaje claims the shooting was also meant to shut him up. But police, who have arrested two suspects, counter that the slaying was the unfortunate outcome of an attempted robbery.

    The Associated Press: Cardinal accuses Hugo Chavez of persecuting foes
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Chavez criticizes US as arrests stir concern

    QUITO, Ecuador — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday defended the arrest of a major TV channel owner, calling him a criminal and denying the government is carrying out an assault on press freedom.

    The back-to-back arrests this week of two government opponents — including the owner of Venezuela's only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel — have drawn accusations that Chavez is growing increasingly intolerant and authoritarian as his popular support has slipped.

    Opposition leaders and human rights groups condemned Thursday's arrest of Globovision's owner Guillermo Zuloaga, who was detained at an airport and released hours later after a judge issued an order barring him from leaving the country.

    Zuloaga is accused of spreading false information and insulting the president at an Inter American Press Association meeting in Aruba last weekend, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.

    "A Venezuelan judge comes along and orders the detention of a criminal in Venezuela who owns a media outlet," Chavez said during a visit to Ecuador. "And then they attack the government of Venezuela ... for attacking press freedom, for attacking journalists and the news media — what cynicism. It's the cynicism of the (U.S.) empire."

    Chavez also took a verbal jab at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, accusing her of being out of touch and saying she seems more and more like her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

    "She still considers herself the imperial lady. She is behind the times," Chavez said. "She still thinks the United States is the owner of this continent."

    His complaints were echoed by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who said his government would prepare its own report on human rights in the United States.

    The State Department has said harassment and intimidation of the opposition and the media are on the rise in Venezuela.

    Clinton said earlier this month during a Latin American tour that Chavez's government is limiting freedom and should restore "full democracy," and State Department spokesman Mark Toner has expressed concern about Monday's arrest of opposition politician Oswaldo Alvarez Paz.

    Alvarez Paz was charged with conspiracy, spreading false information and publicly inciting crime after remarking that Venezuela has turned into a haven for drug traffickers, among other accusations.

    U.S. criticism of Alvarez Paz's arrest prompted a diplomatic protest by Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, who met with U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy, the state-run Bolivarian News Agency said Thursday.
    The two arrests were similar in that both men made remarks that authorities deemed false and offensive.

    The Inter American Press Association said Zuloaga spoke in response to a group of pro-Chavez journalists who accused him of backing a failed coup against Chavez in 2002. He denied the charge and recounted his version of events, according to a transcript of the appearance.

    "We are also against what happened back then because if it had been done right perhaps we would have a different Venezuela today," Zuloaga said.

    He accused Chavez of ordering security forces to open fire on a protest march that was headed toward the presidential palace. Chavez maintains opponents were behind the bloodshed that preceded the short-lived coup.

    Zuloaga also accused the government of limiting free speech, saying: "You cannot talk about true freedom of expression when a government uses its power to repress media, to shut down media."
    Globovision has been the only stridently anti-Chavez channel on the air since another opposition channel, RCTV, was forced off cable and satellite TV in January.

    The Associated Press: Chavez criticizes US as arrests stir concern
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  3. #3
    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    but... but.. sean penn said....
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
    П(_)П
    twitchy molests my signature!

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