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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Missionaries Chased Out of Venezuela

From the New York Times:

Amid rising tensions in Venezuela between President Hugo Chávez and various religious orders, the Utah-based Mormon Church has withdrawn all 220 of its American missionaries from the country, a spokesman at the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City said Tuesday...

The development comes two weeks after Mr. Chávez ordered the expulsion of the Florida-based New Tribes Mission, an evangelical group that he accused of aiding the Bush administration in what he claims is a plan to invade Venezuela. "They are agents of imperial penetration," he said in an Oct. 12 speech.

Relations between American evangelicals and Mr. Chávez's fiercely nationalist government have been severely strained since August, when Pat Robertson, the conservative televangelist, told viewers of his program, "The 700 Club," that the Bush administration should assassinate the Venezuelan leader.

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