Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - In a statement calling for an end to aggression and violent confrontation among Venezuelans, the country's Catholic Bishops say “in the debate on Constitutional reform, supported by some and rejected by others, Venezuela is living moments of political tension which has led to legitimate student demonstrations but also acts of verbal and physical violence which disturb the public order". To promote the necessary social harmony the Bishops appeal "to the people to national social and political leaders, to student groups and all those in political sectors or areas to strive to act with calm, in a truly democratic spirit, within the framework of the Constitution and the laws, to maintain peace and avoid any act of violence to be condemned from whatever side it comes".
The bishops recall that peaceful demonstrations are an expression of political plurality, recognised by the Constitution. They are not to be judged priori as initiatives of "destabilising conspiracy". The state and the government must guarantee respect for all the rights of all Venezuelans, "especially the right to demonstrate in public, opinions for or against te proposed constitutional reforms without being subject to attacks or insults". At the same time the bishops deplore acts of violence seen in certain universities, acts which must be duly punished.
In this situation the Bishops urge political leaders and national authorities to "promote the common good and respect for all Venezuelans, to reflect and show political tolerance, to solve problems through dialogue working together to overcome divergences". At the same time they say they are ready to "encourage constructive dialogue", and to continue their "mission to evangelise, so that Venezuela may belong to all its citizens who walk together on the path of truth, justice, freedom and peace". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 12/11/2007; righe 25, parole 347)