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Grave robbers desecrate Venezuelan dead

CARACAS, Venezuela, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Grave robbing in Venezuela is on the rise, as practitioners of black magic shell out hundreds of dollars for bones and other artifacts.

Practitioners of black magic known as "paleros" pay up to $300 for a human skull to perform ceremonies, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

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"These unscrupulous people are insulting God and committing a mortal sin," said the Rev. Atilio Gonzalez, a resident Roman Catholic priest at the Southern Municipal Cemetery, who criticized the Venezuelan government of doing little to stop the thieves.

"They have perfect liberty to desecrate the tombs because the government does nothing to stop it."

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