.- Commenting on the defeat Sunday of a referendum on constitutional reform, Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro and vice president of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela said, “Venezuela proved it is democratic, and once again we showed both nationally and internationally that we want to live in peace and that problems are resolved through voting and not through confrontation and belligerence, as President Hugo Chavez has gotten us accustomed to.”
Speaking on Union Radio, the archbishop said the opposition must now work to get more people out to vote and to make people realize that “the only way we can solve problems is by voting and not by violence.” He said he did not expect Chavez to stop his attempts to seek more power and that Venezuelans should be continue to be on guard.
After President Chavez acknowledged defeat of the referendum, Archbishop Ovidio Perez Morales, president of the Plenary Council of Venezuela, said he hoped the results would lead to a new era in the country characterized by peace, hope and reconciliation among all Venezuelans. The archbishop said a “new chapter in the history of the nation” has been opened and that the country “cannot be the same.”
The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, Archbishop Ubaldo Santana, also commented on the vote saying that in the wake of the rejection of constitutional reform, “A new opportunity in Venezuela has been opened to allow all those who make up the different sectors of society to work together and discover paths toward mutual collaboration.”