A commission of bishops named by the head of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela and other Conference leaders will study the constitutional reforms proposed by President Hugo Chavez and prepare a response that will be addressed to the Venezuelan people.
The members of the commission include Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, Archbishop Diego Padron of Cumana, Archbishop Reinaldo del Prette Lissot of Valencia and Bishop Jesus Zarraga of San Carlos.
“It’s important that all Venezuelans of every sector and ideology take part in the debate and seriously study the suggested changes, so that the National Constitution will be a peace treaty for the country, and not a declaration of war,” the bishops said in a press conference.
In that sense they reaffirmed the need for “true national dialogue about this matter of such transcendence for the future of the country, and the opinions of all should be heard and respected.” The Constitution, they emphasized, should belong to the entire nation and not just a particular faction.
In response to the recent polarization of the country over the proposals by Chavez to implement his socialist agenda, several bishops have insisted on the need for dialogue in order to bring about a consensus in the context of respect for the basic rights of the person, such as freedom of expression, and in accord with the democratic process.