Somewhere amid their moving crates in Venezuela’s Apure state, a group of Florida “New Tribesmen” are saying, “Thanks a lot, Pat.” Yesterday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced to a group of Venezuelan indigenous people that he was ashamed of the presence, and luxurious lifestyle, of American missionary groups evangelizing non-Christian indigenous people in his country, and intended to expel one such group, the New Tribes Mission of Florida, which operates all across Latin America, as well as Asia and Africa. Chavez denounced the group as imperialists and colonialists, and his government has implied that such evangelizing missions may be part of a broader American plot to oust Chavez. Wild conspiracy theories without merit? Most likely. Wild ideas without merit spread by inept provacateurs? Assuredly. Update:Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wildhunt Blog gives us a mild chiding for seeming to suggest that Chavez’s decision to expel the missionaries was retaliation for Pat Robertson’s recent, stupid assassination plots. ‘Twas meant in fun, but Jason’s point is taken: there are more complicated issues regarding New Tribes’ extra-missionary activities in Venezuela than whether or not Robertson got them the boot, as Jason details.
13 October 2005