July 15, 2010.
The President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez has ordered a review of all agreements signed with the Vatican, including those signed prior to his presidency. The decision could lead to a fracture in diplomatic relations between the two states.
The Venezuelan ambassador to the Holy See will leave Rome within the next few hours to meet with the Venezuelan president and to mediate in reviewing agreements.
According to Chávez, pacts signed with the Catholic Church are “a privilege” that is detrimental to other faiths in Venezuela.
Clashes between Chávez and bishops have intensified in the last two years. Just a few weeks ago, the Venezuelan president said the Cardinal of Caracas Jorge Urosa was a “fascist, oligarchic and a hundred times worse than his predecessor.”
Venezuela has a population of 30 million, of which 96 percent is Catholic.