In a country rife with economic and social ills, Venezuela’s Catholic bishops issued a strongly-worded critique of the government during their annual conference this week. According to The Wall Street Journal:
The church has long preached reconciliation in the bitterly polarized nation. But as the oil price plummets and economic disaster threatens, the bishops clearly are losing patience. Monday’s statement recalled the 43 deaths during antigovernment protests in early 2014, the “excessive use of force” by the state against protestors, and “the detention of thousands . . . many of them still in prison today” or awaiting trial.
The bishops’ statement went on to say that the nation is operating under a “totalitarian” model:
It “establishes the control of the State over the totality of the life of citizens as well as public and private institutions, threatens liberty and the individual right of persons and associations and has taken all countries that have tried this system to ruin and oppression.”