Cardinal Appeals for Peace after Bombing of Residence

Violence Reaching Extremes in Venezuela

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CARACAS, VENEZUELA, NOV. 17, 2002 ( Venezuelan bishops denounced Tuesday’s attack on the residence of Cardinal Ignacio Velasco, archbishop of Caracas and appealed to governmental authorities to “combat violence against persons and institutions.”

Cardinal Velasco described the violence in Venezuela as “reaching such extremes that we must beg God to help us stop,” and that if the situation continues, “this escalation of violence could bring about very serious polarization.”

The Venezuelan bishops’ conference has expressed concern over recent incidents in Caracas and Tachira, and condemned “calmly, but firmly and unequivocally, the attack on the residence” of Cardinal Velasco.

According to the bishops, the grenade explosion is just “one more sign, however significant, of the growing and dangerous social breakdown, product of a climate of intolerance, alienation, and lawlessness, which has led to armed groups creating, not just uncertainty and chaos, but also disrespect for the dignity of persons public and private.”

The bishops appealed to the authorities, especially “the national government and the powers of the democratic state, which are legitimately responsible for maintaining public order, to uphold their role as guarantors of civic peace, of the struggle to combat violence against persons and institutions, and of effective respect for human rights, in the framework of the constitution and the civil law.”

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