Thursday, October 13, 2005

Religion: Venezuela orders U.S. based Christian group out of the country

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, has ordered the U.S. based New Tribes Mission, out of the country. The NTM, a Christian missionary group, was working with indigenous tribes in the country.

He accused the organization of "imperialist infiltration" and links to the CIA. He also attacked the group for building lavish camps in which to live next to poverty-stricken villages - now why doesn't that surprise me.

Founded in 1942, the main agenda of this fundamentalist Christian group, is to infiltrate tribes, and convince or coerce them into rejecting their own indigenous spiritual beliefs in favour of the Christian church.

Over the years there have been regular reports from South America that the missionaries often converted nomadic communities by forcing them into camps and reservations. If you take a look at their website, there is very little - if anything about helping tribes who are quite content to live their lives they way they always have.

In many countries in which this group has operated, such as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, indigenous tribes have completely lost their traditional way of life and become dependent on a market economy.