Briefly noted

A Christian missionary group being expelled from Venezuela vehemently denounced charges by President Hugo Chavez that it is involved with the CIA. Chavez announced in a nationally televised address on October 12 that he wants to oust New Tribes Mission, a U.S.-based group specializing in evangelism among indigenous people. The move is an attempt to purge Venezuela of U.S. “imperialist infiltration” and was based on intelligence that some of the missionaries are undercover CIA agents, Vice President José Vicente Rangel told reporters. In a statement, New Tribes denied the allegations, saying the group, which has 160 personnel in the country, has had no governmental ties in its 59 years of service there. “We have the highest regard and respect for the people, laws and country of Venezuela.” However, noting rising tensions between Chavez and church groups, the Mormon Church said October 25 that it was removing all 220 of its American missionaries there.


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