Bishops say the country is heading in a ‘suicidal’ direction


The bishops of Venezuela issued a statement entitled “Do not be afraid, I am with you” criticising the political leadership and calling for greater respect for basic needs and human rights.The bishops’ statement gives their reaction as pastors to the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

The bishops say the situation is becoming “increasingly more serious” and are compelled to speak out because the future of the nation is at stake.

“Attitudes of arrogance, authoritarianism and abuse of power, as well as the constant violation of human rights, are accumulating on their actors a rejection that future generations will claim.”

“It is suicidal to continue stubbornly insisting on a path of self-destruction that will turn against its promoters,” they said, stressing that the Church does not endorse acts of revenge or retaliation, “but neither does it promote impunity for crimes that threaten life and fundamental rights.”

Citing “monstrous hyperinflation” as a major reason for much of country’s crisis, the bishops noted that the quality of life for the majority of Venezuelans, which was “already extremely precarious, is deteriorating day by day.”

Venezuela’s bishops said the primary cause for the ongoing political crisis the country is facing is the national government, “for putting its political project over any other consideration, including the humanitarian.”

They also criticised the government for “erroneous” financial policies, for its “contempt for productive activity and for private property and for its constant attitude of placing obstacles in theway of those who want to resolve some aspect of the current problem.”

The Bishops stressed the need for national leadership which puts people and ethics at the center, rather than power, control, or the pursuit of “petty interests.”

The Church, they said, has an evangelic task of looking after the interests of the people but stressed that it was not a substitute for political leaders, and does not wish to “dominate the social panorama, nor to become a factor of government or opposition.”

The Church’s role is to interveneactively in the political arena, so that the high principles and values that the Christian faith transmits to us can also be lived in the scope of the public and translate into works of common good.”

The bishops encouraged citizens not to grow accustomed to living in “humiliating” conditions and to be active in using every means possible to return power to the people.

They urged the Venezuelan armed forces to be faithful to their oath before God and homeland to “defend the constitution and democracy, and not to be carried away by political and ideological bias.”

They also called for greater solidarity on the part of parishes and ecclesial institutions in keeping with the Church’s social doctrine “to promote a structural change in favor of the transformation of our society.”

“We must never be discouraged in front of the challenges of an uncertain and difficult present,” they concluded. “On the contrary, we place our trust in God, who gives us the strength to bear witness and to do good, and we strengthen the demands in favor of justice and freedom.”

ACN Malta