According to father Acacio Belandria, a 78-year-old Jesuit priest in the town of El Nula, his parishioners are increasingly complaining of extortion, kidnapping threats and killings by the leftist guerrillas, and that Venezuelan armed forces and president Hugo Chávez are either unable or unwilling to stop them.The rebels’ “presence is active and interventionist,” the priest sais in the LA paper. “The question I ask myself, and what people in the countryside are asking, is, why can’t or won’t the government defend its sovereignty?”The rebels used to come here just to rest and recuperate,” he said. “Now they have made this their territory.”
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