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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Marcel Granier

Interviewed February 11, 2010

The church means a lot to Venezuelans. And people respect the church. And the church has been always, always, no matter what government, a great defender of human rights. That´s been — Since they don´t have much money to do charities, even though they do a lot, in terms of human rights they have been very consistent.

So the relationship between the regime and the church has been very bad. The government has been putting obstacles to the work of the church, invading some of the few properties they have. And with the other Christian churches that are perhaps – have been developing their creeds in a more modern and more active way, and they have new churches — what the government has been doing is they´ve been expropriating some of those churches and making it difficult for foreign pastors to come to Venezuela. Not giving them the visas or expelling them from Venezuela.

So there is obviously, as with any communist regime, the relationship with the with the church is bad, no matter whether it´s Catholic, which is the one he hates the most because he was brought up as a Catholic, or with the other Christian denominations.

Other religions have all suffered the persecution of the regime. The Jewish community in Venezuela has had a very hard time. Publicly, Chavez has said that he hates Israel. Publicly, on national television and radio. And he´s proven that. He´s invaded their schools. He´s persecuted them. And so they feel so threatened that more than 50 percent of the Jewish community in Venezuela has emigrated to other countries.