AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishops before the presidential elections: "Let us vote with conscience and responsibility"

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Bogotá (Agenzia Fides) - Tomorrow, Sunday, May 27, over 36 million Colombians will return to the polls to elect the President who will be in power for four years. Six candidates are vying after the current president, Juan Manuel Santos, has ruled for eight years, after being re-elected in 2014 with 50.93% of the votes. In a message published a few days ago and addressed to "the Catholic faithful of Colombia", the Colombian Episcopal Conference (CEC) invites everyone to vote "consciously, freely and responsibly", recalling that "voting is a right and a moral duty that has profound repercussions on everyone's life".
In their message, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops invite to put aside apathy, distrust or pessimism; to prepare oneself with prayer, so that the Holy Spirit "allows us to choose wisely and honestly, thinking only of the common good"; to reject all types of election vices. They also recommend comparing electoral programs and not to be manipulated by propaganda, "which sometimes deceives, with harmful information or interests other than those of the common good".
All this by remaining coherent "with our convictions, driven by reasons and motivations that spring from the Gospel" and in a climate of "respect, dialogue and civic spirit".
With regard to the question "who to vote for?" raised in the message, the Bishops reply that it is necessary to choose those who manifest "the desire to serve the common good" with respect to particular interests. For those who show "freedom and independence from any foreign current of ideological colonization". They have to be able to "listen and learn in democratic dialogue" and show "solidarity toward the sufferings and hopes of all Colombians". The same applies to those who want to "engage in the construction of the Country on ethical values and promote clear policies in favor of the dignity of the person, the protection of the family, the defense of life in all its phases, the right of parents to the education of their children, of the care of nature".
The Bishops recall: "we will not choose a superhero who can do everything, but someone who is able to guide the efforts of the Colombian people around a common project of the country". Finally, they especially invite young people "to participate enthusiastically in these elections, driven only by high ideals, do not let yourselves be stolen by hope!" they exhort, remembering what the Pope asked them.
Finally, they encourage us to put "in the hands of God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the desires of having a better country to give to the new generations, our commitment and the objective of national reconciliation, and the service of rulers who will be elected", concludes the message.
According to the latest polls, the candidate of the Democratic Center party, Ivan Duque, remains at 35%, followed by Gustavo Petro, of the progressive movement with 25%.
The presidential elections this year, together with the legislative elections held in March, are the first to be held with the FARC as a political party and no longer a guerrilla movement. (LG) (Agenzia Fides, 26/05/2018)