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Chavez Says Cardinal Is Conspiring Against Him

January 16, 2006|From Times Wire Reports

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused a Roman Catholic cardinal of conspiring against him after the clergyman chastised the leftist leader, alleging he was eroding democracy and abusing his power.

The exchange was the latest sign of tense relations between the country's Catholic hierarchy and Chavez, who has pledged a socialist revolution in the nation, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

"This is part of a provocation, part of a conspiracy; there is nothing innocent about this. It is a plot to destabilize the country," Chavez said in his weekly broadcast.

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