Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 07 March |
Saint of the Day: Sts Perpetua and Felicity
home iconNews
line break icon

Pro-government “colectivos” in Venezuela targeting Catholics

Juan Barreto/AFP

Daniel Esparza - published on 03/15/17

Recent attacks and confrontations seem to be part of an orchestrated campaign, according to local Archbishop.

A few years ago, “colectivos” targeted synagogues in Caracas. It is no surprise, then, that the Jewish Venezuelan community massively migrated elsewhere in the last 10 years, either going back to Argentina or Europe or settling in Israel. Now, a series of attacks and confrontations against Catholics in Venezuela not only points to a “renewed deterioration of relations between the Church and the national government” –as The Tablet explains– but also seems to be part of what some members of the clergy have openly called a coordinated campaign.

Venezuelan “colectivos” are pro-government groups that, to a certain extent, are in charge of some social programs but that also have been accused of hoarding firearms and using them while infiltrating demonstrations, and intimidating and using violence against the Venezuelan opposition.

Recently, one of these “colectivos” stormed into a Sunday Mass celebration at the San Pedro Claver church in Caracas, shouting insults at both the congregation and the priest. The insults included “devil in a cassock,” which Chávez himself used to refer to the Venezuelan Cardinal Castillo Lara, when the latter died.

But this has not been the only attack in recent days. Some “colectivos” also gathered around Barquisimeto’s Archbishop Antonio López Castillo’s home, after he publicly criticized the Venezuelan Socialist government; and a few weeks before that, some seminarians were attacked in the streets and stripped of their clothes in the Andean city of Mérida, in Southwestern Venezuela.

Retired Archbishop Ovidio Pérez Morales declared such attacks “are part of a general policy of confrontation with the Church. Specifically, it’s against the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, and it’s nothing new,” according to declarations gathered by The Tablet.

If you want to read more on the matter, click here.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
10 Mysterious things to know about guardian angels
Philip Kosloski
5 Important things to notice in a Catholic church
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Do you know the 3 words that describe God’s style? Pope Fra...
Ziggurat of Ur
John Burger
Pope’s trip to Iraq is like a pilgrimage to a Holy Land
Philip Kosloski
10 Things you should know about St. Joseph
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope calls us to Abraham’s hope: Full text of address in Ur
Pope in Iraq: Schedule and key events
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.