Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.
As we have watched events unfold in Venezuela, we are grateful for the witness of our sisters and brothers in the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela and to Sarah Henken, Regional Liaison for the Andean Region with Presbyterian World Mission for sharing information from our partners and reflections on the situation.
“We call on our fellow citizens to avoid sinking into an absurd fratricidal confrontation that benefits no one.”
Central Presbytery (of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela) issued these stark words this week in a letter to their compatriots. Venezuela has made the news even in the United States, and it isn’t pretty.
February 12 is Youth Day in Venezuela, commemorating the role of young people in the battle for independence from Spain at La Victoria in 1814. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of that patriotic date, students gathered to march in several cities across the country. Peaceful marches were held by groups both in favor and in protest of the current government. In Mérida, where small violent protests have become common in recent weeks, the initially peaceful events gave way to violent clashes with riot police and protesters set up garbage fires to blockade intersections. In Caracas, several government buildings were attacked. Other cities also saw violent confrontations.
Read Sarah's post "Praying for Venezuela"
The Presbyterian Church of Venezuela’s Central Presbytery held its regularly scheduled assembly last weekend and faced an unexpected item of business. In an open letter to their compatriots, delegates drafted a letter that envisions the Venezuelan people as seafarers in a shared vessel, with a shared destiny. The letter calls on all sides to step up to their unique responsibilities and work for a constructive, peaceful outcome that serves the common good.
“We cannot build a nation of brothers and sisters with lies, with lawlessness, much less with violence and death. . . . As a church we seek a true and lasting peace. A peace in which we all win. Peace which is the fruit of justice, of reflection, of honest consensus and without concealed weapons.”