Thursday, December 6, 2007
Venezuela's president chastened; reports of persecution rising
Venezuela-Voters in Venezuela have chastened President Hugo Chavez by turning down his proposed constitutional changes.The church took an official stance against the President in the referendum.In their opinion, the bishops are quoted,"Besides restricting many civil, social and political human rights protected by the Constitution, the reform establishes motives for political discrimination and introduces new fields of confrontation and polarization between Venezuelans. "With the failure of the constitutional overhaul, Chavez faces a term limit.That means he's out of the President's office in 2013. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says that means he may speed up his press toward a socialist agenda.Unfortunately, that's not good news for believers. "We have heard reports of increased persecution, particularly along the Colombian border with Venezuela. There are some cases of Venezuela providing sanctuary for FARC guerrillas from Colombia, and in other cases, literally, persecution instances against the church in that particular area."The concern is growing as ministries look over Chavez' track record against Christians. A year ago, he revoked a permit given to the mission more than 40 years ago. That gave the Bible translation ministry just 90 days to relocate their personnel from the tribal areas. At the time, the missionaries were already preparing the indigenous people for the possibility of continuing the ministry on their own.Prayer is needed for church workers in this area."Times of political turmoil can be times of great outreach and great ministry, but they obviously are also times of uncertainty and times of questions. I think we can pray for the leaders of the church and pray for the members of the church in Venezuela to have wisdom and to continue to be bold witnesses for Christ."
As in the days of Noah...