Archbishop warns Venezuela is heading towards dictatorship

.- Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo warned Venezuelans this week that the constitutional reforms proposed by President Hugo Chavez are leading the country towards a dictatorship similar to the Castro regime in Cuba or the Pinochet regime in Chile.

The archbishop recalled that democracy is based on the balance of powers and that many of the reforms proposed by Chavez are inspired by Communism.  What is even more dangerous, he said, is that the proposals would make Chavez another Pinochet or Castro, “who are not the models of democratic virtues.”

Speaking to the Venezuelan daily “La Verdad,” Archbishop Porras said the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela is studying the proposals made by Chavez and would soon meet to formulate a response. 

He pointed out that in July the bishops warned that the government’s disregard for those who disagree “casts serious doubt on the democratic nature of the constitutional reform.”  The hurried pace of the government’s effort to implement the reforms and submit them to a single yes or no vote “signals a lack of real participation,” he noted.

Archbishop Porras said he has yet to see an openness on the part of the government to all the people of Venezuela, rather than “to just those who say Amen to everything it does.”   He called the proposed reforms “profound changes in Venezuelan society itself.”

The archbishop also called on the government to “solve the problems at home” first before “sending Venezuelan money abroad.”

In response to the Chavez’s statement that the purpose of his reforms is to bring “greater happiness to Venezuelans,” Archbishop Porras noted that happiness “is not imposed or voted in by the majority.”  Unity in society is achieved only through dialogue and work, he said, “not through the imposition of an ideological system.”

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