Missionaries expelled for alleged experiments

CARACAS – Minister of Interior Jesse Chacon has accused New Tribes, a fundamentalist evangelical project, with carrying out experiments on indigenous people in Venezuela that have led to 80 deaths, Prensa Latina reports.

A year ago, dozens of indigenous people allegedly died from malnutrition in the state of Apure, the minister has charged. According to an investigation, there were "experimental warehouses" and medicines "never reached these people," he said.

Pres. Hugo Chavez, who accused the missionary project of exploiting indigenous peoples and spying, ordered New Tribes out of Venezuela. According to the government, New Tribes has been working with the CIA, General Dynamics and Westinghouse.

The group operates in remote areas that have major deposits of bauxite, gold, diamonds, uranium, iron ore, titanium, cobalt and other minerals. The Venezuelan minister argued that New Tribes is promoted "because there is geopolitical interest to have a mechanism of control of the biosphere, water, and mineral reserves there." He insisted that the decision to expel the missionaries is not a religious issue, but rather a matter of national sovereignty.