Bishops of Bolivia criticize government for corruption, human rights abuses

.- The Bolivian bishops began their annual assembly last weekend with an urgent call to the new government of Evo Morales to avoid reviving “the same ways of acting that in the past produced death and suffering.”

In their statement, which evaluates the annual state of the country, the bishops criticized the government for using force and pressure to implement its policies and for the lack of respect for human rights.  They also pointed out the contradictions between the statements and actions of different government officials as reasons for “uncertainty and confusion” in the country.

“It is dangerous to think that the new Bolivia is going to be created by ignoring the basic principles of respect for laws and agreements.  Only through interior change and renewal in each individual will we be able to reverse this situation of inertia, desperation, slavery and death,” the bishops stated, in response to the Bolivian government’s announcement that it would review contracts with foreign businesses in the country to give more power to the state.

Cardinal Julio Terrazas, who read the statement, also mentioned the upcoming election of a Constitutional Assembly, called for by President Morales, in order to draft a new Bolivian constitution.

The cardinal encouraged all Bolivians to participate in this initiative, but he warned this would not be a magic solution to the problems facing the country, such as poverty.  

This was the first time the bishops have publicly criticized the new government, coming at a time when President Morales has been in Havana meeting with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro.

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