Friday, 9 May 2003

Cochabamba (Fides Service) – “Let’s build together a better Bolivia is the title of a message issued by the Bishops of Bolivia after their 76th plenary assembly 2-7 May in Cochabamba, in which they lament the profound crisis into which the country has fallen and they call on the people to realise the role of every citizen, in the past, present and in the future to find together the way to overcome the present situation. The bishops underline that the dramatic facts which have shaken Bolivia in recent months “were not isolated events they were another link in the chain of manifestations which are the expression of the profound crisis which has struck the nation”. “We cannot remain indifferent” write the Bishops because there is a danger not only that these acts may be repeated but that they may even increase. Besides sadness and incredulity “there is a sensation of disorder, insecurity, anarchy, void of power. One senses the threat of dissolution and disgregation of society, the imposition of violence and authoritarianism which threaten democracy obtained with so many sacrifices”.
Among the causes of the crises which prostrates the country the Bishops signal: “growing poverty, widespread corruption, impunity, passivity and a feeling of impotence which prevent people from looking towards the future with hope”. In the face of this situation “the first urgent task is to save the democratic institutions…because democracy is the best instrument to allow us to obtain development which is human, just and worthy.” The construction of a political and social system suited to the national reality on the one hand demands “firm rejection of every form of individual and collective violence, authoritarianism or messianic individualism and on the other calls for the co-responsibility of the government, the institutions, the opposition, of the different social sectors and the media”. In this sense the Bishops make a list of precise requests:
- to the government: that it may act with more readiness and clarity in taking decisions and that it may consider that the problems of the nation are consequences of the needs of a poor country;
- the sectors of opposition: a belligerent attitude is not constructive, and although our democracy is weak and imperfect, we must rely on the norms of democratic institutions to improve it;
- to leaders: always put the interests of the nation and the common good before personal or group interests, demonstrating constructive and consultative openness;
- to the people: aware that they are suffering the consequences of suffocating poverty, the bishops encourage them not despair indeed to assume an active role in the arduous and lengthy process of overcoming the causes of the problems which flagellate the country.

Welcoming a suggestion made by Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, apostolic Nuncio to Bolivia, “to promote extraordinary initiatives of prayer, sensitisation and formation” the Bolivian bishops conclude their message announcing a nation campaign of prayer for peace which will take place on Sunday 25 May in all the communities and parishes.R.Z. (Fides Service 9/5/2003 EM lines 39 Words: 500)