Amid violence, Church calls Colombians to vote

.- The bishops of Colombia have released a pastoral letter, calling Colombians to vote on Oct. 30.

The bishops called on Colombians to act “heroically” in turning out to vote. They warned that some regions of the country are plagued by fraud and corruption, making it difficult for voters to freely cast their ballots.

Voters will elect governors in 32 provinces as well as mayors and city council members across Colombia.

At an Oct. 25 press conference, the president of the Colombian bishops’ conference, Archbishop Ruben Salazar of Bogota, called for an end to voter intimidation and to the “political machinery of buying and selling votes.”
 
While the political situation facing the country is “very complicated,” he noted, the Church has the courage to denounce anything that goes against the gospel.

Voters should choose a candidate who is committed to the development and inclusion of all in society, the archbishop said, adding that the candidate must be dedicated to fighting poverty and protecting human dignity.

According to the director of the Commission on Election Observation, Alejandra Barrios, many municipalities are subject to voter intimidation, and 41 candidates have been killed in recent months.
 
Barrios said one out of every three municipalities has received threats from rebel groups and other criminal organizations.

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