Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - At noon yesterday, 11 July, on behalf of all the Bishops of Venezuela, Archbishop Jesús González De Zárate, Archbishop of Cumaná; Mgr. Jorge Aníbal Quintero, Bishop of Barcelona and Mgr. José Manuel Romero, Bishop of El Tigre, presented the pastoral exhortation that gathers the reflections of the CXII Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela held in recent days (see Fides 11/07/2019) to the press.
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that serious violations of economic and social rights have been committed", "for over a decade, Venezuela has adopted and implemented a series of laws, policies and practices that have limited democratic space", "the State has systematically denied the rights of victims of violations of human rights to truth, justice and reparation": these are the words expressed by Mgr. González De Zárate, who underlined that they are not of the Bishops but of the UN High Commission report for Human Rights (see Fides, 5/7/2019).
The message of the Venezuelan Episcopate refers to the Venezuelan diaspora, highlighting that now over 12% of the population has emigrated. If the deterioration of the economic and social situation continues, in the coming months the country will lose another important part of its population. "The immense majority of the inhabitants of the country reject this situation because it is in open contradiction with the traditional civil, cultural and religious values that have characterized our people", write the Bishops. "Venezuelans continue to bet on a pluralist and peaceful civil coexistence in justice, freedom and solidarity, as established by the constitution".
The Venezuelan Bishops reiterate that "political regimes, ideologies, organizations or institutions must be at the service of fundamental principles. This requires a decisive promotion and defense of human rights and a permanent denunciation of abuses and violations of these rights, from the moment that all abuses of this dignity are abuses for God himself (...). The ethical and spiritual renewal of the country is everyone's task".
Therefore the actions to be undertaken to tackle the events affecting the country are underlined, because "in the face of the reality of an illegitimate and failed government, Venezuela cries out for a change of direction, a return to the constitution". "This change requires the exit of those who exercise power illegitimately and elections, as soon as possible, of a new President of the Republic".
This is why we need "a new impartial national electoral council, the updating of the electoral register, the vote of Venezuelans abroad and the supervision of international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the "European Union, among others; and also the end of the national constituent assembly".
To conclude, with regard to the humanitarian emergency, "it is urgent to allow massive entry and distribution of food and medical aid". The Catholic Church is committed to providing assistance to receive and distribute supplies, through the network of its institutions, such as Caritas.
The last word of the Bishops is to thank the neighboring countries that welcome the brothers who emigrated from Venezuela. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2019)