More than 40 churches and ecumenical organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean signed a letter regarding the actual situation in Venezuela. They based their message on recent events regarding the deployment of military presence on the Venezuelan coast and the imposition of economic measures against that country. This declaration followed and supported the one made by the National Council of Churches in the U.S. on similar issues, and made a call to churches around the world, as well as all people of goodwill, to increase prayers and acts of peace, justice, and reconciliation for the people of Venezuela. The Global Ministries' Latin America and Caribbean Office accompanied the process as Partners and other fellow organizations in the continent submitted signatures into the said letter.
Here is the expression of some Latin American leaders from churches and ecumenical organizations, after committing to being part of this letter:
"We are in prayer for the people of Venezuela, and we have also signed the document to repudiate the actions by the U.S. Government and other countries to harm further the people weakened by COVID-19 and economic situation. God have mercy and hear our cry for the Venezuelan nation. God continues to bless the work of the Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean." Reverend Rogélio Renner, President of the Evangelical Congregational Church in Brazil
"We greatly appreciate being part of this pastoral letter. It not only makes sense and is pertinent, but it is vital due to the level of crisis we are experiencing as a region and as humanity. We think and see very well the need to express ourselves. We fully adhere to Emmanuel Baptist Church, and we look forward to continuing to consult other sister ecumenical organizations around these issues. With fraternal hugs and greetings, Rev. Miguel Tomás Castro, Baptist Church "Emmanuel," El Salvador.
This is an opportunity to denounce injustice wherever it comes from. And of course, we are proud of being part of it. Spiritual hugs. Bishop Medardo Gómez, Salvadorian Lutheran Synod. El Salvador
"On behalf of the Guatemalan Cultural Action Association, we agree to support our brothers and sisters in Venezuela. Our institution also has the philosophy of non-militarization among peoples. Receive our greetings from Guatemala. María Cristina Gómez Santay, Guatemalan Cultural Action.
We subscribe and support all actions of the ecclesial and ecumenical sector for peace and nonviolence. It is a moral obligation to urge the self-determination of the peoples and to reject all militaristic interference. Martin Nates, Executive Director, Justapaz: Mennonite Center for Justice, Peace, and Nonviolent Action, Colombia.
We support this letter with conviction, commitment, and hope for peace for our peoples and continent. In solidarity and hope. Rev. Dr. Daniel Godoy F., President of the Evangelical Theological Community of Chile.
The Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela, responded to this gesture of solidarity with a brief comment, as follows:
I wanted to thank our partners around the continent for the initiative of this letter. Gestures like these encourage us to continue. It is good to know that we count on the support of our friends and colleagues from ministry. We understand that all humanity is suffering because of this pandemic. Still, Venezuela has to face the harassment of economic power, such as the one caused by the U.S. Government. It is dramatic how it tries at all costs to prevent us from accessing the means and resources to face this present health crisis. This letter will surely make a significant impact on our situation. It will be an excellent Christian witness. Rev. Elida Quevedo, UEPV Bishop and President of the Women's Network.
Here is the letter, signed by churches and ecumenical organizations from all the Latin American and Caribbean Continent:
YOU WILL LOVE GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
Letter from Churches and Ecumenical Organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean before the Military Escalation in Venezuela
June 2, 2020
We, Churches, Ecumenical Organizations and leaders from all over Latin America and the Caribbean express our outrage at the recent reports of mercenary groups entering Venezuelan territory to commit violent acts against the people of that country. It is particularly painful that those actions were allegedly motivated by religious ideals. These violent actions contradict Jesus' teaching to love and respect for our neighbors. The Gospel according to Matthew 22:36-40.
The foreign policy measures that the U.S. has implemented against the Venezuelan people remain a deep concern. At a time when countries around the world are allocating resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has expanded economic sanctions against Venezuela and deployed Navy ships under the pretext of fighting drug trafficking. These actions have endangered the people in Venezuela, and have impacted this country's ability to address the COVID-19 crisis in this hour of need.
Given our solidarity with the people of Venezuela and our commitment to peace with justice:
- We condemn any military intervention in Venezuela, directly or indirectly promoted by the U.S. or through third nations. Such actions defy the right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and worsen their infrastructure and livelihoods. We call on the U.S. government to heed the call for a global ceasefire from the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Guterres, who said: "It is time to put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives."
- We urge the government of the U.S. to eliminate all economic sanctions imposed against Venezuela. These strategies will not serve any purpose other than to harm those who are already suffering, and who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The economic sanctions will also negatively affect the political and social environments needed for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela.
- We applaud and join the efforts with the National Council of Churches in the U.S, in accordance with its most recent report on the military escalation in Venezuela.
- We request that the international ecumenical movement; all churches and faiths in the U.S. and around the world; governments; the U.N. and all people of goodwill to come together to reject any military intervention against Venezuela, to eliminate economic sanctions against this country and to affirm its right to self-determination and sovereignty. The people of Venezuela are our neighbors and we stand in solidarity with them.
- We call on churches in the United States and around the world, as well as all people of goodwill, to increase prayers and acts of peace, justice, and reconciliation for the people of Venezuela.
May God guide us into that endeavor.
Churches and Ecumenical Organizations
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay
- Fellowship of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) in the Mexican Republic. Mexico
- Presbyterian Church - Reformed in Cuba.
- Church of Quaker Friends (Monthly Meeting Havana)
- Evangelical Congregational Church of Brazil
- Salvadoran Lutheran Synod
- "Emmanuel" Baptist Church of El Salvador
- Association "The Church of God", Argentina
- Pentecostal Evangelical Union of Venezuela (UEPV)
- Communitarian Churches of Venezuela
- Venezuelan Center of Theological Studies (CEVET)
- "Martin Luther King" Center of Venezuela
- Christian Continental Network for Peace (RECONPAZ)
- Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI)
- Association of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin America (AIPRAL)
- World Students Christian Federation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FUMEC ALC)
- Student Christian Movement of Cuba
- Joint Mission Board-Mexico
- Latin American Interreligious Network for Peace Education (RILEP)
- Cuban Council of Churches
- Evangelical Theology Seminary, Matanzas, Cuba
- Ecumenical Faith Network for Cuba. CMLK
- Christian Center for Reflection and Dialogue (CCRD), Cuba
- United Theological College of the West Indies, Jamaica.
- Latin American and Caribbean Communications Agency (LAC)
- Christians for Diversity (Argentina)
- Latin American Biblical University (UBL)
- Presbyterian Caucus of Puerto Rico
- Lutheran Communication Network of El Salvador (RELUCES)
- Mayan Intercultural Seminary, Chiapas, Mexico
- Guatemala Ecumenical Christian Council
- Agape Christian Association, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
- Ecumenical Action for Human Rights, Honduras
- Christian Development Commission, Honduras (CCD)
- Association of Community Health Educators (AECS), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Churches Committee for Emergency Aid, (CIPAE), Paraguay
- Guatemalan Cultural Action
- Mennonite Center for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action. JUSTAPAZ, Colombia
- Evangelical Theological Community of Chile
- Theological Community of Mexico
- Lutheran Communication Network of El Salvador (RELUCES), El Salvador
- Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research, A. C. (INESIN), Chiapas, Mexico
- "Las Memorias" hostel, Tijuana Mexico.
- International Christian Service of Solidarity with the peoples of Latin America «Óscar Romero», Colombia.
- Argentine Commission for Refugees and Migrants (CAREF), Argentina