Venezuela’s Woes: Exodus, Poverty, Misery and a Country in Ruins

The bishops of Venezuela have issued a Pastoral Letter following their plenary assembly.

Newsroom (15/01/2022 11:16, Gaudium Press) Several points of the sad and terrible political-social reality of Venezuela were highlighted by the country’s bishops after the conclusion of their recent plenary assembly. For those who have followed the post-assembly communiqués, regrettably they have noticed that many of these observations are not new, in this seemingly hopeless situation. But they, the bishops, always appeal to Christ for help.

The prelates point out, both in the post-assembly pastoral letter (entitled “May your great love, Lord, accompany us, just as we hope in You”) and in statements to the media, that one is in the presence of “an exclusive political system.”

A power that lingers in failure and inefficiency

It is a sin that cries out to Heaven to want to maintain power at all costs and to intend to prolong the failure and inefficiency of these last decades: it is morally unacceptable!” said Archbishop Jesús González de Zárate of Cumaná, newly elected president of the Episcopal Conference.

The prelate pointed to three “scandalous” realities that can sum up the tragedy of Venezuela: “The dismantling of democratic institutions and state enterprises,” the “dramatic exodus due to the forced emigration of almost six million expatriate compatriots,” and “the poverty of the vast majority of our people, with particular emphasis on child malnutrition and situations of injustice experienced by the elderly.”

According to the Archbishop, a principle that could sum up all of the government’s actions in Venezuela would be “to convert the human being, created by God as a free and responsible being, into a simple executor of idolatrous centres of power.”

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Islands of opulence in a sea of misery

In a novel observation reminiscent of the Cuban reality, where pockets of opulence can be seen amidst misery, the Archbishop of Cumaná spoke of the “considerable investments that are taking place in the country that benefit only a few people or groups of investors in areas inaccessible to the impoverished majority of the population.”

Reading the Letter, the Archbishop pointed out that “in our cities, casinos and gambling houses, bars, restaurants and hotels, luxury houses and buildings are springing up. In all times, the luxury and waste that a few boast offend God and our brothers and sisters, but with greater force in this time of global crisis and pandemic that the country is going through.”

The prelate referred to the recent elections in the state of Barinas, cradle of ‘Chavezism’, where the party faithful to those ideals was defeated: “The results of Sunday, 9 January, are a demonstration of how necessary it is to recognize and accept that we are facing a change in Venezuela, highlighting the need for encounter and understanding, to build a country free of the oppression and deterioration to which it has been subjected.

These realities demand creating a new foundation of the country, the bishops stated.

With information from Aleteia.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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