Tags: Pope Francis | venezuela | catholic | bishops | denounce | socialist | political

Venezuelan Bishops: Socialism Is Cause of Country's Many Woes

By    |   Wednesday, 14 January 2015 11:09 AM

Venezuela's socialist government is to blame for the woes the country is facing, the nation's bishops said, calling for a new "a new entrepreneurial spirit" to restore the country's future.

"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," said the bishops in a strongly worded statement by the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference this week, reports the Catholic publication Aleteia

"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 government has imposed a "system of a socialist, Marxist, or communist nature," and the bishops called on officials to release political prisoners and to quit using the courts to disqualify their political opponents.

Further, they called for improved freedom of speech and press for their country's citizens.

Venezuela's recession has been deepening over the past year, with inflation rates that are above 60 percent, reports Forbes, and plummeting oil prices are making the country's problems even worse.

Oil is dropping toward $40 a barrel, but Venezuela needs it to be at $100 or more to keep its external accounts balanced.

The country's budget deficit in October was 17 percent, even before oil prices started dropping, reports Forbes.

Further, Moody's Investor's Service this week lowered Venezuela's credit rating to just one step above default, but is still calling Venezuela's outlook stable, "based on Moody’s view that even if the oil price drops further, expected losses to bondholders are likely to be consistent with a Caa3 rating and unlikely to reach levels associated with lower ratings."

As a result, prices are rising for food and other basic necessities, a problem the bishops blamed in their statement on the nation's "totalitarian and centrist" government which "undermines the freedom and rights of individuals and associations."

The country's problems can be helped, though, with a "new entrepreneurial spirit with audacity and creativity," said the document, read by Monsignor Diego Padron, the archbishop of CumanĂ¡, in Spanish, reports Aleteia.

The current crisis reflects more than money issues, the bishops said, and also "reveals ... a moral crisis of values, attitudes, motivations and behaviors that must be corrected."

Instead of fostering entrepreneurship, Venezuela's socialist government — now under Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez's vice president — has been taking over companies, reports Forbes.

Over the last fifteen years, the Venezuelan government has been seizing assets while nationalizing hundreds of companies. In some cases, this has lead to lawsuits from companies such as Exxon, which was awarded $1.6 billion after the Venezuelan government took over its oil projects.

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Venezuela's socialist government is to blame for the woes the country is facing, the nation's bishops said, calling for a new "a new entrepreneurial spirit" to restore the country's future.
venezuela, catholic, bishops, denounce, socialist, political, system
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2015-09-14
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 11:09 AM
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