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Chavez reforms would restrict freedom and make power of State absolute, warns Venezuelan archbishop

.- Archbishop Reinaldo Del Prette of Valencia reaffirmed the recent statements by the bishops of Venezuela calling President Hugo Chavez’s constitutional reform “morally unacceptable” because they restrict the rights of citizens and grant absolute power to the State, “with a president who is re-elected indefinitely.”

In speaking to local media, the archbishop referred to the recent document by the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela in which the bishops said the reforms Chavez seeks to impose will not give “Venezuelans the country they aspire to have, and for this reason we felt obliged in conscience to express our opinion.”

“It is clear that, when we speak of the Constitution, we are referring to the social contract of all Venezuelans.  We are not acting as representatives of any party,” the archbishop said.  “We must continue saying we are speaking as pastors.  This is not a problem between the opposition and the government, between the rich and the poor. This is the social contract in order for us to live in peace,” he said.

Archbishop Del Prette said constitutional reform is not needed in Venezuela.  He pointed to Argentina and Brazil as examples, noting that in Argentina Cristina Fernandez, the wife of Nestor Kirchner, was elected president without “a reform of constitution or the creation of a Socialist State monopolizing all power.”  “And Lula in Brazil, a politician with a broad 21st century mentality, opposes indefinite re-election and said the changing of power is obligatory for the country to progress democratically,” he added.

Therefore, he continued, “the attacks on Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino by some members of the government are totally unjustified and irrational.”

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