Venezuelan bishops have denounced President Nicolas Maduro’s government describing it as a totalitarian system that aims to subdue its people and hang on to power indefinitely.
In an interview with the Religious Information Service – SIR - the President of the Venezuelan Catholic Bishops Conference said “We demand respect for the needs of the people” in the face of a corrupt and autocratic government.
Bishop Cástor Oswaldo Azuaje Pérez of Barinas decried the political status of Venezuela’s leaders describing the government and military powers as corrupt entrepreneurs.
He recalled that the bishops have repeatedly denounced the hunger and malnutrition that afflicts such large portions of the population and that has led to the serious health deterioration of children and adults, as well as the exodus of over 2 million young people, the continuous human rights violations and a general lack of democracy.
“We urgently appeal to the government to tackle issues pertaining malnutrition and lack of health care and we call for a democratic process that foresees the participation of all citizens” said Bishop Azuaje.
“Our task, Azuaje said, is to defend the lives of people and of the population: we repeat this continuously to both the government and to the opposition parties”.
Venezuela’s humanitarian emergency
The President of the Episcopal Conference highlighted the fact that the situation in the country is critical, especially from a humanitarian point of view: “there is lack of food and of medicines, the products needed for agricultural production are unavailable and the transport of goods is difficult. There are many products for basic needs that are not to be found in stores or are too expensive. The average salary of workers is not sufficient to ensure a nutritious diet. This generates a lot of restlessness and desolation”.
Privileges only for the ruling party
In the political sphere, Azuaje continued, every day the government t and the constituent assembly release new statements which inevitably favour the ruling party and the rulers, and to not take into account the needs and the demands of the people.
Decrying the serious and delicate situation that stems from the lack of democracy and the humanitarian emergency in the country, Bishop Azuaje highlighted the fact that the Church “is always open to dialogue”.