The organization “National Front of Women for a Yes Vote,” led by Venezuela’s Minister for Women’s Affairs, Maria Leon, repeatedly disrupted the offices of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela on Monday to demand the bishops support the referendum to allow Hugo Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely.
Accompanied by a throng of journalists from the state-run media, Leon and a group of women demanded to meet with a representative of the bishops.
Father Jose Gregorio Salazar Monrroy, the Undersecretary of the Bishops’ Conference, met with Leon briefly and said later the document she had, which was supposedly representative of “millions of women in Venezuela” would be delivered to the president of the Conference, Archbishop Ubaldo Santana.
“We have come to ask you to change…and that you create a new Bishops’ Conference, with us women,” Leon said.
According to the Diario Catolico, which had access to a copy of the document, the text stated that “the heroines who make up the National Front of Women for a Yes Vote reject in the strongest of terms” the document issued by the bishops, because “it expresses a partisan and sectarian political position in response to the historic process our country is experiencing under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez.”
Last January 13, the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela rejected the proposal to amend the constitution put forth by President Chavez that would allow indefinite re-election for all public offices and expressed concern about the attempt to “reverse the decision of the people that has already been expressed” against re-election in an earlier referendum.
The bishops said the haste with which the proposal has been put forth could “translate into greater political and social confrontation, gravely affecting an already weak peace.”