Venezuela archbishop criticizes government attempts to distort truth about April 11th crisis

.- On the fourth anniversary of the Venezuela’s politico-military crisis of April 11, 2002, Archbishop Jose Baltazar Porras of Merida criticized the government’s attempts to “re-write” the history of those “very confusing events,” and said that both parties involved in the crisis share responsibility.

The archbishop, who was the mediator during the political crisis that edged President Hugo Chavez out of power for a short time, recalled that the events “were very confusing and the responsibility for good and evil falls to both parties, but what we have seen since then is an epic re-writing of the story with a desire to simply and unostentatiously make criminals out to be heroes and victims and those had absolutely no responsibility out to be bloodthirsty.”

In an interview on Venezuelan radio, Archbishop Porras said he did not agree with the manner in which the government celebrated the events of April 11.  “What it’s doing is making the breach wider,” he said, and making people become emotional and irrational, “rather than bring the serenity that a moment like this demands.”  To celebrate and re-write the events brings more hurt to some and makes others blinder, the archbishop added.  “This is the wrong path,” he warned.

“The right to life is above any ideology, it is sacred, above any law,” Archbishop Porras continued, and it is the focal point for putting things into perspective again, “so that we don’t become a country of irrational people acting simply and unostentatiously on our emotions and not on what in reality things demand of us.”

The archbishop said the events of April 11 show what happens when leaders act outside the social and political order and when there is no balance of powers to neutralize the normal tendency of those who are leaders to grasp for more power.  “We are reaping what we have sown,” he said.

Archbishop Porras expressed regret at the “very high distrust” Venezuelans have for public officials and called for autonomy between the country’s different branches of government, warning that consolidating power in one branch would in no way contribute to bringing the country back together again.

He also emphasized the need to recover the moral values necessary to overcome the crisis facing Venezuela. The only way to reestablish trust, he said, is to overcome what he called “cruel individualism,” which never leads to peace.


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