CARACAS, Venezuela

In light of the current socio-political situation in Venezuela, the Central Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (IPV) at its XXXIV Council, held from Feb. 14-16 in Valles del Tuy, made public a Pastoral Letter to the Venezuelan people, as “a modest contribution to peace and understanding between those of us who live in this land of grace.” 

An English translation of three principal paragraphs of the letter, the first two having to do with the IPV’s Central Presbytery’s understanding of the situation, and the third expressing its hopes: 

“We exhort all the political actors to stay within the framework of the Constitution. Violence, as a resource for settling differences, will end up slipping from the hands of those who propitiate it, and will finally gobble up those who started it. Through violence a momentary victory could be obtained, but it will not result in a durable peace, as has been demonstrated throughout the history of humanity.”  

“We recognize the national government's bold efforts to bring about a more equitable distribution of the national wealth that has in good measure allowed the making visible and dignifying of vast sectors of the Venezuelan society, greatly unattended in the past. The results are also recognized by world organisms that point to the social achievements that the Venezuelan State has developed over several years. At the same time however, we exhort the powers of the State to do a profound self-criticism, and in a concrete and visible way apply correctives against the bad practices that have established themselves within. For centuries our Reformed Christian tradition has pointed out the permanent temptation to which any level in the exercise of government is subject, in the appealing to the abuse of power, be it openly or covered up, against the rights of the citizens. All inhabitants of whatever nation of the world aspire to have an efficient and clean State, that attends to all their needs.” 

“In the world geopolitical context we are a privileged country. In the bowels of the homeland lie mineral and energy wealth. We have important aquifer reserves and agricultural potential. We are a nation strategically located on the American continent. But, and as is not a secret, our superior wealth is in the people that inhabit it. How wonderful it would be if all Venezuelans were to truly see each other as brothers and sisters! How wonderful it would be if we were to march toward a legitimate common objective, built by all!”