Bishops of Bolivia call for prayer amidst grave political crisis

The Bishops Conference of Bolivia issued a statement last night calling on the faithful to pray that the country’s congressional body gathered in the city of Sucre would find a proper political solution to grave crisis affecting the country.

In their statement, the bishops express regret that the resignation of President Carlos Mesa has resulted in a serious crisis for the country and that not all of the parties that wished to be included were able to participate in the talks that were mediated by the bishops.  At the same time, they noted, “some organizations have not responded to our invitation.”

The bishops emphasized the wide consensus for finding a democratic solution through peaceful dialogue.  “Most of those consulted agreed that early elections should be held in order to establish a political and democratic balance that expresses the sovereign will of the citizens and will allow the country to be governed, with attention paid to the current problems were are experiencing,” the bishops stated.

In the case of a presidential resignation, the Bolivian Congress has the responsibility of deciding how to proceed with a successor.  The bishops point out in their statement that the Conference “has not supported, nor will support, any specific candidate,” and they note the urgency of dealing with requests for holding a Constituent Assembly and a referendum on the issue of regional autonomy and the nationalization of the natural gas industry.

They also exhort the faithful to offer up “prayers for peace” and for solutions that are just, peaceful and mutually respectful.

Bolivia's Congress decided late Thursday night to replace President Carlos Mesa with the head of the Supreme Court, Eduardo Rodriguez, who, according to the Bolivian  Constitution, can only call for early elections.

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