The situation in the country
After his trip to Venezuela, Vildoso acknowledged that the country is very rich in energy resources, such as oil and gas, and that it has a very good infrastructure.
However, he said, at the same time it is undeniable that “the country lives in a situation of very serious poverty, where the macroeconomic numbers speak for themselves.”
“A person who works for the state, for example in health care or education, earns an average salary of $6-$12 a month and the cost per month for the family’s basic necessities is approximately $200 for a family of five people,” he said.
In addition, “the industry in general is paralyzed or significantly reduced, such as the oil industry that is below the minimum level of production.”
Regarding how the crisis affects the Church, the ACN official said that it “urgently needs our support,” since the high rates of poverty are affecting “the support of the Church directly.”
“It continues to be a priority for us to take care of the clergy, also the women religious who do commendable work and all the pastoral workers. But at the same time, we are also very interested in promoting the formation of the laity, that there be personal encounters with God and initiatives that help us sustain that encounter,” he added.
Despite the economic and social crisis, Vildoso assured that “casinos, car sales businesses such as Ferrari, go-kart tracks, a new modern baseball stadium, and even the construction of private clinics have recently opened.”
“All of this in some way is reserved for those who are ‘plugged in,’ those with ties to the current regime,” he pointed out.
Vildoso said that the bishops think and believe that changes in the country will come with future generations.
“Therefore, they’ve placed an emphasis on supporting young people through creative pastoral initiatives to connect with them. Venezuela has 7 million people outside the country, which [often means] young professionals. Therefore the youth are receiving special attention to avoid emigration,” the ACN official explained.
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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.