.- The archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, has called on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to withdraw his plans for constitutional reform, which the bishops have called “morally unacceptable,” and that Chavez hopes will keep him in power.
At the beginning of a day of vocations for the Archdiocese of Caracas, the cardinal defended his right to question Chavez’s plans for reform and denied that he was acting as a spokesman for opposition groups, as some government officials have suggested.
“It’s neither my style nor that of the bishops to polarize,” the cardinal said, adding, “We think there are serious problems. For the Venezuelan people, who have lived in peace with the 1999 Constitution, the best thing would be for this proposal (of constitutional reform) to be put aside and that we not go backwards in something that is so important.”
The cardinal said that if the reform is approved, it would go against “political freedom, against pluralism, against freedom of thought.” He said all forms of intolerance should be rejected and that a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions should prevail over “insults and attacks.”
Urosa said that the bishops were committed to working for “peace, respect and tolerance” and emphasized that “political pluralism is a right and a fundamental value of the Venezuelan State.”