Monsignor Roberto Lückert, Archbishop of Coro, Falcón state, and vice-president of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference (CEV), Thursday claimed that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lied when she said that there were meetings with Venezuelan bishops supporting her criticisms against President Hugo Chávez' Government, Efe reported.
"This lady was way out of line when she said such things that are not true. This is a lie. I am the vice-president of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference and I have never felt that we have been invited or asked for a hearing with the board of directors of the CEV to say what this lady claims," Monsignor Lückert said.
The prelate told local radio station Unión Radio that the CEV board of directors met recently, and "it has not talked about the fact that the US Ambassador to Venezuela (William Brownfield) or any other US official is concerned about us. I think this lady was very clumsy" to speak otherwise, Monsignor Lückert added.
On Wednesday, Rice claimed that the Venezuelan Catholic Church was "under fire" from President Chávez and that US officials have met with Venezuelan Catholic authorities.
El Universal, via The Cafeteria is Closed
I am baffled that Rice reportedly claimed in public that Venezuelan Catholic bishops are nigh colluding with American agents. One of the Bush Administration's first foreign policy failures was its support for the abortive Venezuelan coup! The Secretary of State is writing Chavez's propaganda for him, providing free fodder for efforts to discredit his local opponents.