The president of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Ubaldo Santana, warned last week that the reform of the Law of Decentralization which took effect on Friday would jeopardize the country because the centralization of power “has never been good for Venezuela.”
Speaking on Union Radio, Archbishop Santana noted that the state of Zulia has had “the opportunity to see the advantage and positive results of the decentralization policy.” This shows that before taking measures, the government should have carried out an evaluation, he said.
Venezuela’s National Assembly, which is dominated by lawmakers from the ruling party, recently approved the new Law of Decentralization. The new law took effect last Wednesday and allows the Chavez government to retake control of ports, airports, and communication channels it considers of national interest. The legislation also allows Chavez to scale back the power of regional leaders.
According to Archbishop Santana, the bishops are closely following the application of the centralization measures, which he said are rolling back advances and progress Venezuela has made during the last 20 years.
“As a pastor and a man who serves and works in a region like Zulia, I feel the duty to express my grave concern not only for the measures that are being taken, but also for the way in which they are being applied and the negative consequences they bring” for the country.
The archbishop also referred to recent conflicts among workers and the threat made by President Hugo Chavez to resolve them by using the military. The archbishop called “on the armed forces and all of powers” to understand “that their collaboration should be with the country and with the people, and what they should be defending first of all is the good, peace and harmony among all Venezuelans.”
Archbishop Santana warned that a dangerous climate is being created by the government, and that confrontations and threats only lead to more violence.