Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 12, 2019 / 17:01 pm
The Venezuelan bishops asked Thursday that president Nicolas Maduro resign from the office which he “illegitimately” exercises and that a new president be elected in the shortest time possible.
“In face of the reality of an illegitimate and failed government, Venezuela is crying out for a change of direction, a return to the Constitution. That change demands the departure of the one exercising power illegitimately and the election in the shortest possible time of a new president of the republic,” the bishops said in their July 11 apostolic exhortation, released at the end of their general assembly.
Under Maduro's socialist administration, Venezuela has been marred by violence and social upheaval, with severe shortages of food and medicine, high unemployment, and hyperinflation. More than 4 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015.
The bishops cited a July 4 report from the UN human rights commissioner which said the government has committed a variety of human rights abuses, including a high number of extrajudicial killings.
The bishops maintained that “examples of these violations of the rule of law are the recent actions by state agencies which led to the death of Light Cruiser Captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo and young Rufo Chacón's loss of his sight, incidents that have already been strongly condemned by the Justice and Peace Commission.”
They also pointed to “the exodus of more than 12% of the Venezuelan population” due to “the political situation, the impoverishment of the middle class, and contempt for the poor.”
Faced with this crisis, with the moral deterioration of society, violence, lies, corruption, irresponsibility and despair, the bishops reiterated that a profound change is necessary that requires the departure of the current regime and that a new president be elected.
They added that for the elections to be free, indispensable conditions are “a new, impartial National Electoral Council,” international oversight; and the end of the Constituent Assembly, among other measures.