Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Chavez urged to renounce new powers

Roman Catholic leaders in Venezuela are calling for President Hugo Chavez to give up special legislative powers

Roman Catholic leaders in Venezuela are calling for President Hugo Chavez to give up special legislative powers granted to him by his congressional allies.

The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference condemned a package of laws approved last month by the National Assembly, including one that grants Mr Chavez power to enact laws by decree for the next 18 months.

Mr Chavez gained those powers shortly before a new congress took office with more opposition politicians.

A statement from the bishops accuses Mr Chavez of trying to impose a totalitarian system in Venezuela.

Mr Chavez and the bishops have feuded for years. The president has accused the Catholic leadership of neglecting the poor and of siding with his opponents and the rich.