Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - On September 1 a demonstration has been announced with a march and other political activities, in order to promote a collection of signatures for the referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. The government accuses the opposition of having a plan to create violence on this occasion, and that there is an international conspiracy to overthrow Maduro.
The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV), in a statement sent to Fides, says that this has to do with the exercise "of a legitimate right, enshrined in the Constitution and the legal system of Venezuela". "These demonstrations, rallies and political activities should be respected and protected by state organs and develop in a climate of peace, social harmony, tolerance and respect".
The Bishops recall that "the State, with its different institutions, in particular with security organizations, is obliged in accordance with the law, to guarantee all citizens the right to free expression of their ideas, freedom of movement in the country, personal integrity and respect for the common good".
After recalling what was stated in last July's message, "The Lord loves those seeking justice" (see Fides 13/07/2016), the Bishops' Conference reiterates the appeal to give satisfactory answers to the needs and aspirations of the Venezuelan people, is close especially to those who suffer, and recalls the commitment of lay Christians for the construction of peace and constructive dialogue.
Priests must have the commitment to "promoting prayer for peace and for the good of all Venezuelans, to promote understanding and dialogue, and promote the integration of all citizens, especially the weakest and most needy". As an expression of mercy in this Jubilee Year, the Bishops finally urge the establishment of the "Parish Caritas". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 31/08/2016)