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Venezuela: Bishops Beseech Government to Allow Humanitarian Aid

Borders Closed with Colombia and Brazil

“Listen to the cry of the people, allow the entry of “humanitarian aid”! said the Bishops of Venezuela in a document released February 21, 2019. That evening, the Venezuelan government declared that the border with Colombia and Brazil has been closed, where very large amounts of humanitarian aid should arrive. The Presidency of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference published a Declaration, reported February 22, 2019, by Fides News Agency, articulated in 8 points, on the serious current situation.

“The general deterioration of living conditions has led the country to extreme situations, particularly in the field of food and health,” said the statement. “The Church, in its various articulations (the Pope, the Holy See, the Episcopal Conference, the religious and the Council of lay people) has often asked for the possibility of opening a humanitarian channel. The answer has always been a resounding ‘no’. Currently, the National Assembly, legitimately representing the Venezuelan people, has taken the initiative to organize this help with the participation of various sister countries and nations.”

The text continues: “The country needs humanitarian aid. The regime is obliged to meet the needs of the population and to facilitate the entry and distribution of aid, avoiding any kind of repressive violence. To ask for and receive help is a moral duty that concerns us all, given the dramatic shortcomings and the urgencies suffered by the Venezuelan people.”

It is recalled that the social pastoral care of the Church, through the national, diocesan Caritas and parish, has carried out an intense and recognized work for many years at the benefit of people who need immediate attention, through various programs.

“We repeat what was stated in the statement of Caritas of Venezuela of February 4, 2019,” the bishops wrote. “The possibility of humanitarian aid has generated many expectations due to the needs of the population in food and health. We want to remember that the aid is guided by internationally accepted protocols in order to respond to situations of serious crisis. They are not at the service of political interests, but rather at the interests of the most vulnerable people. They do not solve all the problems of the population. The aid consists mainly of emergency rations and supplements for children and the elderly with nutritional deficits and in medical supplies, mainly therapeutic. It is limited in coverage and time. It is always subsidiary and does not replace what the State must do with its resources.”

The Bishops reaffirm the commitment of Caritas and other organizations to receive and distribute humanitarian aid, making available its experience and abilities, respecting human rights and humanitarian principles.

“We are against all types of violence – says the Episcopal Conference no violence or manipulation should be created among the citizens as many people who are in extreme situations will benefit from humanitarian aid”, and ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Coromoto “in this time of many hopes for the country.”

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