Venezuela: Chavez's supporters seize church

Caracas, Venezuela - A church located southeast of Caracas in "Barrio El Winche" of Fila de Mariches and attended by the congregation of Laura Sisters and the Salesian Fathers has been invaded and taken over by supporters of Hugo Chavez, El Universal reports today. Members of Endogenous Battle Units (Unidades de Batalla Endógenas or UBE) -a Chavez invention to create a new democratic model of popular support- expressed that the action was taken in order to establish, in the church, a post of military security that shall be manned by Venezuela's National Guard.

UBE's coordinator, María Cecilia Cárdenas, stated that the whole community was behind the invasion and not only members of her group. Cárdenas also expressed that the move had the endorsement of the Miranda Governorship, headed by Chavez's staunch ally Diosdado Cabello.

However Marielba Barboza Morillo, on behalf of the church, explained that the action not only encroaches upon the rights of the community, furthermore it violates a concordat between the Holy See and Venezuela that grants legal protection to their church.