By James Blears
In a letter (original in Spanish) published earlier this week, the Bishops Conference highlights the suffering of the Venezuelan people, caused by the deep economic slump and the moral crisis which the country is undergoing, which they say is being forgotten by those who took the role of representing them in the political sphere.
The Bishops point out that this situation has been further aggravated by Covid-19, spreading throughout the country, which is marked by the very serious deterioration of the sanitary system and public services. Nevertheless, the Bishops say the Venezuelan people have a great capacity for democracy, with an electoral process involving a peaceful and rational manner, to establish a consensual route to resolve problems.
To do this they are urging free, just and impartial elections with the participation of all political parties and movements, according to electoral norms and procedures. But they are conscious of irregularities including the banning of political parties and the prevention of some candidates. The Bishops note that some groups of leaders are expressing their determination not to take part in the forthcoming elections.
Rather, the letter appeals for a togetherness, with the acceptance of the Authorities for the good of the Venezuelan people in a spirit of fraternal cooperation.
Currently neither the Government of President Nicolas Maduro, nor the opposition coalition — which has at least some of its power base in the National Assembly which Juan Guido leads — are willing to ease their entrenched position, or set aside political differences. Yet these and all other elections are supposed to be an indication of the will of the people who vote.