Venezuelan archbishop calls for Chavez to stop posturing and address urgent problems

.- Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida has criticized the Hugo Chavez regime for its ambiguity and urged the government, “rather than worrying about the Venezuelan-style 21st century socialism,” to address such urgent problems as unemployment, the quality of education, and national security.

Talk of “21st century Venezuelan socialism suggests much but defines nothing,” the archbishop said.  “It could be anything, from an iron-clad, tropical dictatorship—Cuban, North Korean, or Iranian style—to a regime of complete freedom and respect for institutions, like faraway and chilly Norway,” the archbishop said.

He criticized the Chavez government for hiding behind ambiguities and engaging in deliberate equivocations in order to advance its agenda

While Archbishop Porras admitted that socialism has some advantages, “as a political system it has been a disaster.”  However, he warned, “This does not mean that capitalism is a universal panacea,” because while it has its virtues, it possesses in itself “the virus of inequality and of the marginalization of the weakest in society.”

He stressed the urgency of coming up with creative solutions to the country’s most pressing problems, including “unemployment, quality education, decent housing and respect for life in the face of such insecurity and abuse of power.”

Archbishop Porras recalled the teachings of John Paul II, who said, “The Church values the democratic system” inasmuch as it allows citizens to participate in political choices and to elect and “control their own leaders.”  “An authentic democracy is only possible in a State of laws and based on the correct understanding of the human person,” the Pope taught.

Recently President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela is moving towards “21st century socialism,” and the country’s National Assembly passed legislation granting Chavez the power to rule by decree for one and a half years.


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