Peace and Justice

Holy See aware of difficult situation in Venezuela, says Father Freites


The rector of the Venezuelan College at the Vatican, Father Pedro Freites, said the situation of violence, the violation of human rights and the verbal attacks on the Church by officials of the Hugo Chavez are being closely followed by the Vatican Secretariat of State, which is aware of the repercussions the situation could have for peace in Venezuela.

“The Vatican Secretariat of State here is very aware of the serious danger of this kind of attitude for the peace and stability of a country,” Father Freites told Union Radio.  He stressed that a “profound and sad concern” exists over the continual threats, “the excesses, the violation of human rights, the subjugation of the population, and most especially we are saddened by the coarse, aggressive and offensive language.”

Father Freites noted that the threats and attacks against Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas have awakened the solidarity of Pope Benedict XVI, who sent a letter to the cardinal this week expressing his spiritual closeness to the besieged prelate.

He also criticized the Chavez government for being incapable of solving the most pressing and urgent issues facing Venezuelans and instead focusing on the irresponsible distribution of the resources of Venezuelans “in the name of a revolutionary political project.”

Father Freites stressed that the government has the task of “administering justice and not fostering impunity.”  Nevertheless, the December 2 referendum showed that Venezuela “wants peace and wants democracy, the Constitution and human rights to be respected.”

“At the international level we look like fools because we are living in a country in which poverty is growing while the regime goes all over the world living like Pharaohs and giving the impression that we are rich and powerful.  Meanwhile, you can’t eat oil because there’s no milk and there’s no chicken,” the priest said.

“The Church cannot remain silent in the face of such injustice,” he added.  “What we ask of the government is respect and justice for all Venezuelans.  We want peace, but not that which is based on injustice and deception,” Father Freites said.

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