Venezuelan Church condemns regime’s political repression, human rights violations

UNITED in their concern to “avoid still greater suffering and pain for the people” and in their hope for a solution for the political crisis Venezuela is currently going through, the Venezuelan bishops’ conference Feb. 4, 2019 launched a joint communiqué with the country’s conference of men and women religious , as well as the National Council of the Laity.

The statement expresses the “determination and hope” with which the signatories urge the search “for a political transformation via a process of transparent and peaceful transition that will lead to free and legitimate elections and the resumption of a democratic course, the restoration of the rule of law, the rebuilding of the social fabric, the revival of economic production, the restoration of the morale of the country and the coming together of all the Venezuelan people.”

The statement denounces “the growing, politically motivated repression, the violation of human rights and the selective and arbitrary detentions” of individuals; the statement calls for peaceful democratic change in accord with the country’s Constitution.

The statement praises activists who are defending and promoting human rights at a time of crisis and despite the risks, urging them to continue in their concern for “the victims who are suffering injustices.” The statement makes clear that the Catholic Church is committed to helping those most in need, “acting in accordance with the principles of independence, impartiality and humanity;“ the statement also requests access to humanitarian aid as a means of mitigating the plight of the most vulnerable citizens.

The statement concludes with a call for prayer on Sunday Feb. 10, 2019 in “every church, every home and every community, calling on the Lord to grant us peace, reconciliation, liberty and health of body and spirit.”

The United States, the European Union and a host of Latin American nations have recognized Juan Gerardo Guaidó, president of the National Assembly, as the country’s legitimate president, charging that President Nicolas Maduro’s recent re-election was the result of fraudulent elections.
—Monica Zorita