.- During their 88th Plenary Assembly, the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia called for greater debate on the country's current health care system. President of the bishops' conference, Bishop Ruben Salazar Gomez said the issue must be addressed with great care in order to ensure that the majority of Colombians have access to basic services such as health care.
Bishop Salazar said further debate is needed in order to analyze the “deep, difficult and complex problems” of Colombia's health care system. He then praised the government’s openness to accepting the criticisms and observations in order to find the best solutions for the country.
Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, secretary of the bishops’ conference, called on officials to refine such decrees to make sure they do not have a negative impact on Colombians, especially on the poor. “The government should analyze and come up with a plan in which Colombians do not have to dip deep into their own pockets to have basic health care, which is one of the duties of the State,” he said.
Later in his address, Bishop Salazar discussed the upcoming elections in Colombia and remarked that the bishops are convinced, “only the Lord, who is the way, the truth and the life, can guide us on the paths of life and peace.”
The bishops “do not intervene in partisan politics,” the prelate said. “We will not point to any one candidate as qualified or unqualified.”
“Our task is to raise awareness of the broad principles that should guide people and institutions so we can achieve a society in which we all have full access to our rights and can fulfill our duties,” he said.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe met with the bishops during their first session to discuss various issues facing the country.