Chavez Protects the Indigenous...

October 13, 2005
In yet another example of why Venezuela's President Chavez remains a compelling figure, he has come to the defense of his nation's indigenous peoples. Chavez is expelling the Florida-based missionary group, New Tribes, from the country. While he may be over-stating the political motivations of the group, it is long past due that missionaries are moved out of indigenous areas of South and Central America. According to the BBC article reporting the news:
"The leftist leader said the missionaries were 'imperialists' and he felt "ashamed" at their presence in indigenous areas of Venezuela."
In fact, New Tribes is one of the largest missionary organizations operating in Latin America, and thus can be seen as responsible for much of the cultural erosion of indigenous peoples in the region. While this is a step in the right direction for indigenous peoples, much more still needs to be done to help protect their rights. Indigenous people have been maltreated since the arrival of the Europeans 500 years ago, and such continues today.
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