As unrest spreads, Venezuelan bishops warn government losing authority
April 21, 2017
“Civil and peaceful protest is not a crime; it is a right!” The Catholic bishops of Venezuela issued that statement as anti-government protests spread across the country.
The bishops pointedly stated that a government “loses legitimacy” when it fails to respect the rights of citizens. They continued:
There are other factors that deny democracy, such as the concentration of public powers in the hands of a single power. This is the current situation in Venezuela.
An estimated 6 million people participated in demonstrations in Venezuela on April 20, showing a thorough breakdown in confidence in the government. The demonstrations occasionally slipped into violence, and at least three people were reported killed.
In a related development, a 35-year-old priest, Father José Luis Arismendi, died on Holy Saturday of meningitis, because doctors could not obtain the medicines they needed to treat the disease. Shortages of medicine, as well as food, have brought Venezuela to the point of crisis.
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- Mass protests in Venezuela; bishops say government is losing legitimacy (Fides)
- Spanish-language text of bishops’ statement (CEV)
- Venezuelan priest dies from lack of medicine (Fides)
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