Venezuelan Bishops Warn of Democracy Slipping Away

Address Nation's Crisis at Their At Plenary Assembly

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CARACAS, Venezuela, JAN. 13, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Venezuelan episcopal conference warned about the danger in the country of substituting its constitutional democratic model with an exclusive revolutionary plan.



The 43 members of the episcopate articulated their warning at the close of their plenary assembly last week, where they discussed the spiritual, social, economic and sociopolitical situation of the nation.

"We perceive that there are efforts and initiatives that tend to the solution of problems of the population, and that the democratic will of the people has been confirmed with deeds, concretely with the days of collection of signatures last November for recall referendums," the bishops state.

"Nevertheless, we alert about the danger of changing the constitutional democratic model for an exclusive and excluding revolutionary plan, promoting by the force of power a process of socioeconomic, juridical-political, cultural and even religious change, dispensing with the consensus of the population," they add.

"As a consequence, there is further division among Venezuelans, which has caused an unprecedented polarization," the bishops said. "Intolerance has degenerated into hatred, fanaticism and violence."

"The direction President Hugo Chávez is giving the country calls into question participatory democracy and the independence of public powers," the bishops stressed.

"It tends, rather, to foster centralism, state control and 'messianism,'" they said. "The harmful practice of excessive public spending continues, which has fueled corruption, patronage and populist practices, all of which are facilitated by the weakening and impotence of controlling bodies."