Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bishops of Venezuela urge Chavez not to seek re-election for the good of the country

At the conclusion of their 91st Ordinary Plenary Assembly, the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela issued a document in which they called on President Hugo Chavez to reconsider his desire to get re-elected for life for the sake of peace and reconciliation in the country.

“As Venezuelan citizens and pastors of the Church, we have the inalienable right and the duty to enlighten the social life and the ethical discernment of Christians and people of good will in order to defend moral values when these are gravely harmed and to provide ethical guidance for action that guarantees the common good of people and of society,” the statement indicates.

The bishops noted “with sadness” the growing loss of appreciation for life: “currently Venezuela is one of the most violent countries in the world, and among the causes of this violence are the trafficking and consumption of drugs, revenge killings, the vile and inhumane business of kidnapping and the dizzying increase of bounty hunters. It seems human life has no value.”

The statement also warns that intolerance and conflict have become a part of daily life in the country. “We reject this disrespect for human dignity and of the rights of persons, including those of the Bishops of Venezuela when they issue opinions different from those of the government.”

After recalling that in 2007 Venezuelans expressed their will on the issue of indefinite re-election, the bishops note that this issue has more to do with “extending power into the future” than with “overcoming the deficiencies suffered by the people.” For this reason, they called on Chavez to cease his attempts to seek re-election through illegitimate means.

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