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Gideon Long in Caracas

As Father Alirio Suárez delivered his evening sermon in the Church of Our Lady of Coromoto in Caracas last Sunday, the electricity failed, silencing the priest’s microphone and leaving his parishioners sitting in a dusky gloom alleviated only by light drifting in through the stained-glass windows.

Undeterred, Father Suárez raised his voice and carried on. Power cuts are, after all, a common occurrence here these days.

But the Catholic Church’s issues with Venezuela go far beyond the provision of electricity. For years now, the Church has been at loggerheads with the government of Nicolás Maduro.