The Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela has called on the country's citizens to commit themselves to rebuilding the country by following the ideals of their founding fathers and holding fast to life and liberty.
“Everything that goes against a free, equal, united and fraternal Venezuela will not triumph,” the bishops said in an extensive pastoral letter. “The desire to work for a better future, in the conviction of the definitive triumph of life and liberty over death and any form of oppression, was, is and will be a motive and reason to struggle for a nation that believes, loves and hopes,” they stated.
In their letter the bishops reflected on Venezuela’s history and noted that although the founders made mistakes, their mission was to build a country whose inhabitants would be free, equal and united.
However, they lamented, during the democratic period which began the middle of the 20th century, despite abundant oil resources, most Venezuelans felt left out and disillusioned, believing that democracy was “not for everyone.”
This disillusionment laid the groundwork for “transformative alternatives that were beyond a mere change of administration. This is what the winning candidate (Hugo Chavez) promised during the 1998 election campaign,” the bishops stated.
Nevertheless, they continued, despite initial support from the voters, the new government slowly turned totalitarian and not only affected the social fabric, but also “the spirit and soul of the nation.”
Today, the bishops said, millions of Venezuelans continue living in inhumane conditions. “The elites of the past and present have not been able to form an autonomous nation.” The continued, “And the project of 21st century Socialism which is being trumpeted now, is far from what the Venezuelan people aspire for and demand.”
Amidst this reality, the bishops called on Venezuelans to fight against “an anti-culture of exploitation, domination and arbitrariness; of division, violence and exclusion.” They urged them to work that the dignity of each person in the country be recognized and promoted.
Venezuelans are called to participate in the material and spiritual re-construction of their country in solidarity and peaceful coexistence, they said.