The bishops of Venezuela have strongly denounced the "socialist, Marxist or communist" political-economic system their government has imposed on the country.
In a statement by the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV), "Ethical and Spiritual Renewal in the Face of the Crisis," the bishops said the principal cause of the country’s present crisis is "the politico-economic system of a socialist, Marxist or communist nature."
"This system is totalitarian and centralist, it establishes control of the state over all aspects of the lives of the citizens and public and private institutions. It also threatens freedom and the rights of persons and associations and has led to oppression and ruin in every country where it has been tried," the bishops said.
The bishops called on the government to release political prisoners and stop using the judicial system to intimidate and disqualify political opponents, according to a report in El Universal. Freedom of expression and the existence of independent media must be respected, they said.
The bishops said the long lines of people trying to buy food and other basic necessities and the constant rise in prices are the result of the government’s decision to "impose a political-economic system of socialist, Marxist or communist," which is "totalitarian and centralist" and "undermines the freedom and rights of individuals and associations," said Investor’s Business Daily. "The Venezuelan bishops specifically stated that the private sector was critical for the well being of the country. The document, read by Monsignor Diego Padron [Archbishop of Cumaná] in Spanish, said the country needs ‘a new entrepreneurial spirit with audacity and creativity.’"
The bishops begin their exhortation with an analysis of the year 2014, which was characterized by political and social unrest causing 43 deaths, and dialogue squashed in its early stages. To get out of this situation the bishops propose "dialogue once again, but with respect for the political pluralism that exists in Venezuela." They also said that Venezuela needs to strongly support family communion.
The document says that the crisis "reveals … a moral crisis of values, attitudes, motivations and behaviors that must be corrected."