Bogotŕ - The President of the Bishops' Conference of Venezuela , Archbishop of Cumaná, Mgr. Diego Rafael Padrón Sanchez, recalled that the social and political crisis in his country is "very serious" and dialogue between the government and the opposition is urgently needed to prevent further deaths. Mgr. Padron Sanchez made these statements speaking to the Colombian press, during his visit in Bogotá on the occasion of the 103rd Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Colombia.
"The Venezuelan crisis is very serious and protests have been going on for three months", commented Mgr. Padrón Sánchez, pointing out that there is no clarity about the human rights issue. Currently there are about 85 people, especially young people, who have died during the protests, but there is no accurate information on these cases. "We know about these stories thanks to the people... there is also a large number of allegations of human rights", denounced the Archbishop of Cumaná, according to information sent to Fides.
Mgr. Padron denied that the Church in Venezuela is persecuted, but acknowledged that his work is hindered.
"What Venezuela needs is not a new Constitution, but needs to solve problems regarding food, medicine, freedom and respect for human dignity", he concluded.
In the Venezuelan diocese of San Cristóbal, His Exc. Mgr. Mario Moronta has published a statement to ban the use of parishes and annexed houses for the July 16 referendum organized by government bodies in the area, to decide whether to support the contested Constituent National Assembly. "It is a political and party activity", the statement reads. Leaders can do it if they wish, in open public areas, but not in churches, chapels, places of worship or in their courtyards or in the vicinity".
Yesterday in the municipality of Cardenas , a 25-year-old man died during a clash with the National Guard during demonstrations in this area. The incident has not yet been clarified, but it seems he was hit by a tear gas. >>