Venezuela – Bishop Divassón, SDB: solidarity and hope for the country

05 August 2021

(ANS - Caracas) - The latest testimony from Venezuela, unfortunately, confirms the local population's extremely weak condition. Msgr. José Ángel Divassón Cilveti, a Salesian, who was Apostolic Vicar in the Amazonian city of Puerto Ayacucho for almost twenty years and who now resides in the country's capital, Caracas, gives voice to the profound unease of these past months.

The condition of life, if it has not worsened in absolute terms after further aggravation due to the Covid-19 pandemic (with no effective answers in sight), is certainly aggravated by the loss of confidence in seeing a solution on the horizon. Indeed, the tragedy of Venezuela seems to lie in the freezing or stalling of any action or room for maneuver to resolve the humanitarian emergency that has arisen.

Archbishop Divassón mentions his recent meeting with a retired civil servant, who is under such constraint that she cannot access medical care. She is one of the millions of cases in which citizens have to find some roundabout way to survive. “People get by,” he says. “You take something and move on. The wages paid to workers are ridiculous. Having passed the age of 70, I am retired, but what I receive does not reach the equivalent of 1 euro per month. I am lucky enough to live in a community and together we manage somehow, we can access resources, solutions somewhere else. But poor people don't.”

This explains why 5.5 million Venezuelans in recent years have left the country to emigrate elsewhere. Reality, or the actual situation, is often ignored, silenced or distorted, and international public opinion is not aware of what is happening in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference denounced the lack of any real desire for political conciliation, but it never tires of supporting efforts for dialogue.

The eye of the Salesian and of the pastor José Ángel Divassón Cilveti is driven to recognize the presence of a thread of hope. “We have received a lot of solidarity, even from outside. It could certainly be much more, I feel it from my experience in Puerto Ayacucho. There are many people everywhere who sympathize, who want to help. Ways must be found for aid to reach where it needs to go, and many are aware of having to do so.”

Faced with the need to get out of the current impasse, all that remains is to re-propose the residual availability of the population. The prelate explains: "There is an attitude of people that is interesting: there is faith that all this will change, a great capacity has been discovered to give oneself, to share ... Just as there are people who take advantage of it to have more, at the same time there are people with a great capacity for sharing, for solidarity. Hope has not been lost.” And he concludes: "We need to dialogue, we need to find an expression of the popular will. Those who must have the last word are the people, the Country, the citizens, to whom to give the security of being able to speak and choose."

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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