CLAI calls for end to antidemocratic violence in Venezuela

28th February 2014

Venezuela is submerged in waves of orchestrated violence aimed at destabilising the country. In a letter to the Churches in Venezuela the General Secretary of the Latin American Council of Churches, CLAI, a member of the ACT Alliance, expresses condemnation of the illegal and anti-democratic intentions of the opposition in Venezuela to bring about regime change using violence.

The letter is addressed to:

Episcopal Anglican Church in Venezuela
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Venezuela
Presbiterian Church in Venezuela
Pentecostal Evangelical Union of Venezuela
Ecumenical Action.

 

Dear brothers and sisters “I ask – ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory – to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1.17-19

The Latin American Council of Churches, CLAI, has stated on previous occasions already that protests and demonstrations are legitimate and sometimes necessary in democratic regimes. The people have the right to demonstrate, if they feel that the authorities are not acting for the common good.

Also, it is almost inevitable that in demonstrations there are people who use violence. These violent attitudes are not tolerable any longer and should be restrained by the authorities. We express our solidarity with the families of people who have been assassinated and injured in the protests. We pray for the comfort and strength of God for each one of them.

We have seen in the protests in this month of February in Venezuela, directed by the opposition, that their own leaders have confessed the aim of “regime change”. The Venezuelan Constitution offers the possibility of a revocative referendum half way through the term of a presidency, and in that legal and democratic way a government can be changed. However, the recent opposition protests, fed by a media campaign of exaggerations, with unverified messages, dissemination of lies on social networks, selective interviews in the international press, retouched photographs of massive protests, for the purposes of propaganda, have demonstrated the impatient claims of the opposition, that don’t want to wait to move forward legally.

From the General Secretariat of the Latin American Council of Churches, we have sought to listen to the churches and you have confirmed that, in addition to the existence of greater social inclusion, there are serious problems of security, shortages and fiscal solvency that remain unresolved. Therefore the protests are legitimate in their call for greater security, against shortages and inflation, but the demand for a “regime change” does not match the democratic will of the majority of the Venezuelan people expressed in the last elections in 2013.

We thank you for sharing your views and commitment to peace with justice and we plead with God to continue giving you the Spirit of wisdom to accompany your people in these difficult moments. We are open to your suggestions for how CLAI can accompany you with concrete instruments of promotion and participation in the building of peace with justice.

Yours in Jesus Christ.
Rev Nilton Giese
General Secretary
CLAI