Bishops denounce increased militarization and violence in Venezuela

.- The Bishops Conference of Venezuela has denounced the increasing militarization of the country, led by President Hugo Chavez, as well as the growing violence and exclusion of the poor from the benefits of oil profits.

“Venezuela is watching with shock and moral outrage the promotion of a warlike climate and the militarization of society, among other things, through the creation of civil militias,” the bishops said in a statement released at the conclusion of their general assembly.

The bishops warned that the militarization of the country, an excess of weapons, police misconduct, and impunity have created an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the country and, “neutralizes the capacity of legitimate protest.”  Consequently, they called for a “frontal assault” on these problems as well as a “healthy purging” of the military and police forces.

The bishops also denounced some media outlets for contributing, “to the glorification of these violent attitudes by broadcasting violent content and images.”  Sadly, they noted, Venezuelans are becoming accustomed to a culture and way of thinking in which death seems to win the battle every day against living together in peace.”

The bishops went on to criticize the country’s oil industry for not allowing the poor to benefit from oil profits through, “decent and stable employment, adequate salaries for sustaining a family and a social security program that is universal, just, and effective.”