Maduro called on prosecutors to review the prelates' homilies amid reports that opponents of the repressive regime had been killed.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called for an investigation into alleged “hate crimes” committed by Catholic bishops who have been critical of the government.
In a broadcast on the country’s national radio network, Maduro alluded to statements made by two bishops, reported the Associated Press.
Bishops Antonio Lopez Castillo, in a recent homily, drew cheers from thousands when he had asked that Venezuela be saved from corruption. Bishop Victor Hugo Basabe, had publicly prayed that Venezuela be free of the “corrupt plague” that has “thousands of Venezuelans digging through the trash looking for garbage to satisfy their hunger.”
Aleteia’s Spanish edition reported that Maduro accused the Church’s highest officials of wanting to “generate confrontations among Venezuelans, violence, death, exclusion, and persecution.”
On the same day Venezuelan officials told CNN that they had killed Oscar Perez, a police pilot who had been accused of attacking the country’s Supreme Court with a stolen helicopter, last June.
Earlier in the day, a bloodied Perez had posted videos on social media saying that his group was under attack.
“We are not shooting and they keep attacking us,” Perez says. “We are trying to negotiate because there are innocent people here, there are civilians … they literally want to kill us.”