Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—On Monday, May 15, Venezuela denied accusations leveled against Venezuela in a report on religious freedoms issued by the United States government.
In response to the US Department of State report, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Yván Gil posted on his social media, that “Venezuela is an example of tolerance and harmonious coexistence between cultures and religions.”
“We reject the US government report on religious freedom, which continues to assume powers that have not been granted by multilateral mechanisms or other sovereign States,” wrote Gil.
Likewise, Gil stressed that no biased report can hinder the commitment of the Venezuelan government, led by the President Nicolás Maduro, to advocate and work for the various religious expressions that coexist in peace within the Caribbean country.
1/2 Rechazamos el informe sobre libertad religiosa del Gob. de los EEUU, que continúa tomándose atribuciones que no le han otorgado mecanismos multilaterales ni otros Estados soberanos. #Venezuela es un ejemplo de tolerancia y convivencia armoniosa entre culturas y religiones.
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) May 16, 2023
US biased report
The US International Report on Religious Freedom 2022 was released May 15. The document makes a series of tendentious accusations against the Venezuela. The report interprets isolated incidents out of context in order to disparage existing religious liberties in Venezuela in an attempt to provide ammunition to the anti-Chavista opposition within the US and in Venezuela. Below, we highlight some of these claims:
• “In May, the governor of Carabobo State sued Father Alfredo Infante, Superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela and the human rights coordinator of a Jesuit-run nongovernmental organization (NGO), for defamation following the March 14 release of the NGO PROVEA’s annual human rights report, to which the Jesuit NGO contributed.”
In this case, Father Infante claimed that Governor Rafael Lacava was responsible for extrajudicial killings in Carabobo state.
• “Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the regime-affiliated political party United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), called David Smolansky, Organization for American States (OAS) Commissioner for the Venezuelan Migrants and Refugee Crisis, a ‘Zionist’ and a ‘fascist’ during his television program in which Cabello showed ‘wanted’ posters of several opposition leaders.”
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In reality, David Smolansky, a far-right Popular Will party politician, is famous in Venezuela for his violent behavior. He recently applied a choke hold on an elderly US citizen and CodePink activist, Tighe Berry, who was protesting against the presence of former deputy Juan Guaidó in Washington.
The US Department of State shows a clear lack of knowledge regarding the difference between Zionism, an expression of the Israeli apartheid state’s policies, and Judaism, the religion embraced by Jews, along with the connection between far-right organizations and fascism.
Additionally, the US Department of State criticized the use of wanted posters used by Cabello to refer to several opposition politicians who have committed crimes against the Venezuelan people. Meanwhile, the US government has carried out the same persecution of acting officials in Venezuela, which constitutes a violation of the most basic international laws, given that US laws do not have jurisdiction on Venezuelan soil.
• “In March, the regime announced its ‘Good Pastor’ plan to begin registering evangelical Protestant churches and providing a bonus for evangelical pastors participating in the process, which the ECV characterized as a regime attempt to increase ‘control and inspection’ of religious groups.”
In this case, a government program to support religious groups was twisted by Washington, which claims that the program actually hinders religion.
Recently, Venezuelan authorities have activated the “My Well-Equipped Church” program with the aim of endowing Christian sites. In addition to the Venezuela Bella Mission, various religious centers in the country have been restored and beautified. This initiative has been criticized by both atheists and communists, as an expense on non-priority programs while public services, security, and healthcare are suffering under the effects of the US economic war on Venezuela.
Faced with the biased accusations in the US report, Foreign Minister Yván Gil stressed that Venezuela will continue its work “in favor of the various religious expressions” that make up Venezuela.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
blaorinoco 5.17.23 17:44 EST
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