AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Bishops invite to vote and announce a Day of Prayer on October 13

Saturday, 7 October 2017 human rights   politics   episcopal conferences   democracy   elections  

Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "The crisis that the Country is facing is still there. This is the context in which the elections for state Governors have been announced. This is an electoral process of constitutional rank that had been arbitrarily postponed by the current authorities of the National Electoral Council, as the elections should have been held more than a year ago. Faced with this difficult situation in the country, these elections are a light on the path for those who do not only believe and defend democracy as a form of government, but also as a true path to integral development, so necessary for our people today". This is how the declaration of the Bishops' Conference of Venezuela begins, which was published yesterday, October 6, and sent to Agenzia Fides.
Speaking of the national crisis, the Venezuelan episcopate notes: "It is important to bare in mind the importance of this electoral act. The demand for these elections is a right and a wish of the great majority of Venezuelans. Before the totalitarian project that the National Assembly Constituent intends to impose, but not accepted by the vast majority of Venezuelan citizens, the election of governors shows that there are still reasons for hope. They respond to the urgency of continuing to demand that no model must be imposed that violates the dignity of the human person, that violates citizens' rights, political stability and social peace for all Venezuelans".
"In this sense and, starting from our ministry as Pastors of the People of God in Venezuela, we invite all citizens to go to the electoral centers throughout the country and to express their vote freely and without conditions of their own will, confirming the democratic vocation. On October 15, the Venezuelans with the right to vote have a duty towards the country, regions and future generations. By not participating in the vote means condemning ourselves and future generations", reads the statement sent to Fides.
The Bishops then invite citizens not to sell their conscience for some gift or false promise, and to the winners of the election they say: "Those who are elected must not act as 'officers' or 'opponents', but as servants of the people who must rule, as leaders who have the commitment and responsibility to make a government in the regions with and for the people".
At the conclusion of the text, all parish priests of ecclesial communities are invited to announce a Day of Prayer for Venezuela on October 13, so that the outcome of the upcoming elections is peaceful and oriented towards the common good. "Venezuela, with the blessing of Our Lady of Coromoto, must become a nation in which justice, freedom, solidarity and fraternity reign", concludes the text signed by all the authorities of the Episcopal Conference.
The political situation in Venezuela continues to experience a very deep crisis. The foreign Ministers of 12 American countries, gathered in Lima in mid-August 2017, considered the new relations of the Venezuelan government with the opposition as "very positive", but believed that they should be developed with international support, in "good faith" and with "clear targets" (see Fides 25/09/2017). On 5 October, in a statement, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru wished that the regional elections to be held on October 15 in Venezuela to elect governors, take place in full respect of the Constitution and the law regulating electoral processes in the country. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 07/10/2017)