The international community strongly condemned Nicolas Maduro’s decision to move up the presidential elections in Venezuela to the first quarter of the year.
Now, Venezuela’s Catholic bishops have added their voices to the repudiation of the regime’s illegal call for elections (the country’s constitution states at least six months notice is required before an election is held.)
“It is an ethical and human absurdity, a real crime that cries out to heaven, that in the midst of a situation of penury, hunger, paralysis of services, death and national collapse, a spectacle of distraction and alienation is given prerogative, under unfair conditions, and against any sense of equity and service to the population,” The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference said in a statement Monday.
The bishops are compelling. It is not a time for elections, much less an election that is clearly fraudulent. However, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference offers some suggestions.
The first priority is to restructure the partisan and illegitimate National Electoral Council. Then, there must be a united opposition: “The international community has openly declared that the government’s action is unacceptable. The leadership of the political parties has been in many circumstances deficient and incoherent. They must open up to a consensus with the different sectors of society, since an essential condition is recognizing and achieving a political unity that goes far beyond electoral alliances.”
Lastly, the Episcopal Conference states: “The current crisis in Venezuela requires a great deal of hope, along with concrete actions that improve living conditions, strengthen families and communities, and give people back their dignity.”
It is a clear, strong, and important message. A message that, above everything, is directed towards the “opposition” leadership—one that has decided to participate in the fraudulent electoral process despite its rejection by an entire society.
The international community has made it clear they will not accept the presidential election or its results. It is an illegal process from beginning to end. Despite this, some “opposition” leaders have already submitted their candidacy. But now, Venezuelan bishops raised their dissenting voices to draw attention.