Last weekend, hundreds of thousands gather in the streets of Barquisimeto for the annual procession of our patron saint, La Divina Pastora. It’s the biggest of the big deals here, but the event was overshadowed by a nationwide military exercise taking place at the very same time.

The government organized the “Anti-Imperialist Wholistic Defense Exercise Zamora 200” (Ejercicio de Defensa Integral Antiimperialista Zamora 200 — for the 200th anniversary of noted cattle-rustler/psychopath Ezequiel Zamora’s birth) and showed it for several hours in mandatory broadcast (cadena nacional). The broadcast pre-empted most of the procession: who’s got time for the Virgin Mary when there are kalashnikovs to show off?

Roberto Lückert, Coro’s hyper-vocal Archbishop Emeritus and still a high-ranking member of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV), publicly took Nicolas Maduro to task for “…trying to hide the magnitude of the people’s devotion for the Divina Pastora” adding that “[Maduro] shouldn’t meddle in religious affairs”.

Lückert isn’t known as the most diplomatic of priests, and his messaging in here was questionable, considering Maduro himself and our local chavista leaders in Lara think that our ecclesiastical authorities should not be so politically vocal — especially during religious events.

Enter the Archbishop of Barquisimeto, Antonio José López Castillo:

In a series of speeches, first at the start of the procession at Santa Rosa and later at the official arrival spot in Macario Yépez Square, that felt like campaign speeches than homilies, the Archbishop was openly critical to the State’s mishandling of the humanitarian crisis and vowed to continue to speak out. He attacked the “failed socialist system” and offered his support to embattled local newspaper El Impulso.

The official reaction from Nicolas Maduro came three days later. I’m just gonna leave this right here.

“There was an expression of hate… from devils disguised with robes… everyone who messes with us will get dry, divine justice will come to them, because they’re devils. We’re the people of the Divina Pastora that walks along the people of Christ… God will take care of them”.

Before the military exercise, both Maduro and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino offered their salute to the Divina Pastora. During the cadena, they made a small pause in the demonstrations for a prayer led by a chaplain in front of a relic. VP Tareck El Aissami was also present.

Hours before Maduro’s statement, a group of local Chavistas gathered in front of the Archbishop’s official residence in town (who was not present at the time) and staged a loud protest over his words. Former Lara State Governor and high-rank PSUV member Luis Reyes Reyes hopes that “…bishops dedicate themselves more to the Church’s missions, like helping the sick and the poor”.

But Lopez Castillo has not apologized. Actually, he doubled down by denouncing that days before the procession a military officer asked him to “not talk about the social (issues) in the procession”. Backing the Archbishop are the current Lara State Governor Henri Falcon and the Mayor of Barquisimeto, Alfredo Ramos. The MUD-Lara also offered its full support to Lopez Castillo.

It’s curious that the situation with the procession and the military exercise not only happened at the same time, but also while the National Academies’ offices were being burglarized in Caracas. Overly-literal metaphors all around!

In Venezuela today, both faith and reason are under attack. The former by efforts to hide it and then divide it. The latter by running it right into the ground.

5 COMMENTS

  1. OT: You know the Russian military helicopter that went down two weeks ago with 13 souls…they called off the search. The military commander in charge told the parents of a missing passenger that the helicopter was felled by the high levels of natural occuring radiation in the area and the reason they could not use their radios and other electronics after the hard landing was due to the same natural occuring high radiation.

    On a related note, Delcy flew in Tuesday and quietly attended the Global Chairman’s Dinner. Yesterday she met with the outgoing Tom Shannon who warned her the train is leaving the station meaning they need to do good and release Amercian hostage Joshua Holt.

    Also yesterday, Senator Hatch met with Rex Tillerson to discuss the Joshua Holt case. Senator Hatch later gave Mr Tillerson full support.

    Time is running out. There is no sympathy or pity for Venezuela and we will get our citizens back. Cilia and Nick miscalculated big time. Fair Warning.

  2. There has been a long, sustained campaign from the communist garbage to undermine the church’s influence in Venezuela since the very 60s when castro tried to invade the first times, one example of that dirty work was that priest that was kidnapped and murdered and his body was found in a motel, so the abhorrent shiabbe cackled that the priest was a sissy fag and thus deserved to die for it because that was “the only reason of not blindly support chavismo”.

    Other cases of that manure-filled campaign are the almost countless accusations of “every priest is a child molester and a baby rapist” that chavismo happily fling like monkey poop.

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