AMERICA/VENEZUELA - The Bishops of neighboring dioceses of Colombia and Venezuela: it is urgent to re-open the border

Thursday, 12 May 2016 politics   bishops   area crisis   armed groups  

Tachira (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal (Venezuela), His Exc. Mgr. Mario del Valle Moronta Rodríguez, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Cucuta (Colombia), His Exc. Mgr.Victor Manuel Ochoa, met in Tachira with governor José Vielma Mora, and insisted on the urgent need to ask the authorities to re-open the border. Mgr. Moronta informs, in the letter sent to Fides that "in addition to reaffirming the bonds of fraternal communion among Pastors and the neighboring local Churches, the meeting served to examine the current situation in the border area".
The borders were closed in September 2015 (see Fides 01 and 03/09/2015), by decision of the Venezuelan President, with the expulsion of a thousand Colombians, citing as reasons the defense of human rights and food security of Venezuelans. According to the government, nearly half of Venezuelan food was smuggled into Colombia.
According to the Bishops of Venezuela and Colombia, the re-opening of borders will only be a good thing for the two countries, as well as being very useful for the people and communities of the border area. Both the representatives of the Church have volunteered to become intermediaries, if necessary.
The note concludes by informing that next week, a meeting will be hold in the city of Cucuta (Colombia), at an ecclesial level: the two bishops, Caritas directors of the two Dioceses and Pastoral Vicars. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 12/05/2016)