The Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference has demanded national elections and a “democratic transition” to free the country from the failed leadership of dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“In our country we suffer the dire consequences of an economic model imposed by a communist regime and ideology that has impoverished us all, especially the weakest,” the bishops state in their declaration, dated January 11. “On the other hand, we see a minority group of Venezuelans getting rich at the expense of the majority of the population.”
“We suffer from the errors of a misnamed ‘Plan of the Homeland,’ which aims to impose laws to create a communal state,” the bishops continue. “It is run by people who do not assume the responsibility and ethics necessary to run a government, which should promote the development, progress, and well-being of all citizens, rather than bringing calamity and ruin to the nation.”
Those who stand for human rights in Venezuela themselves become “victims of violent and oppressive persecution and disqualification, of harassment and extortion,” the bishops lamented, with “nowhere to turn to denounce multiple faults.”
The report of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in June 2019, points out “numerous cases of torture and murder allegedly committed by officials of the current government,” they add.
The decline in quality of life, education, health, and basic services along with galloping inflation and currency devaluation have “impoverished the entire population,” the bishops state.
All of this has led in turn to increased forced migration, “the most obvious proof of the great failure of public policies (economic and social) executed by the Government,” they note.
The bishops go on to insist on behalf of all Venezuelans on the urgent need to find “the most expeditious legal and peaceful path to facilitate a democratic transition that will lead to presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible.”
“We are aware that we are asking the government for an act of courage, but this is necessary for the good of the people, especially the poorest,” they state.
The bishops conclude by announcing February 2 as a national day of prayer and reflection, asking God for the grace of a peaceful resolution to Venezuela’s urgent crisis.
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