Venezuela's bishops have urged the government of President Nicolás Maduro to allow the Church to bring in much-needed supplies such as food and medicine, reports the Catholic News Agency.
Venezuela is suffering from triple-digit inflation, economic recession, shortages of basic goods, and a power crisis.
In their April 27 statement, the Venezuelan bishops warned that never before had the country suffered from such an “extreme lack of goods and basic food and health products” along with “an upsurge in murderous and inhuman crime, the unreliable rationing of electricity and water, and deep corruption in all levels of the government and society.”
“Casting the situation in terms of an ideology and pragmatism in order to manipulate it are exacerbating it,” they warned.
Venezuela's socialist government is widely blamed for the crisis. Since 2003, price controls on some 160 products, including cooking oil, soap, and flour, have meant that while they are affordable, they fly off store shelves only to be resold on the black market at much higher rates.
The bishops reminded the Maduro government of its duty to “encourage all forms of assistance to its citizens” to overcome the shortages.
The economic crisis has led to smuggling and a thriving black market. Widespread looting broke out last week in several cities after extended power cuts.
The bishops also addressed “all those who are taking advantage of the shortages” by speculating on prices or and “those who are abusing their authority by demanding bribes.”
Photo: Empty shelves in a Venezuelan supermarket, March 2014 (Wikimedia)