Venezuela - Cardinal Porras: "Pray for Venezuela on 21 May"

17 May 2017

(ANS - Caracas) - "The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference has called for a day of prayer on 21 May. This invitation extends to all to pray for an end to violence and oppression by the state in Venezuela, and to promote dialogue and reconciliation." This is the invitation addressed by Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras, Archbishop of Mérida, during an interview with the Pontifical Foundation "Aid for the Suffering Church" (ACS).

Speaking to ACS, the Cardinal also described the current Venezuelan crisis. "What we are experiencing cannot be understood from the outside. Here dialogue is nothing more than a 'photo opportunity' and pluralism is absent. And in the background of the political confrontation there is a private population of food, medicine, freedom, personal security and legal protection." Cardinal Porras also expresses the concerns of the Venezuelan bishops, in particular over the intention of President Nicolas Maduro to convene a "Constituent Assembly of the People" to reform the legal structure of the state. "A wrong and unnecessary decision. The Constitution must be followed, not changed," says the cardinal, representing the pressure exerted by the authorities. "Those who disagree with the government face threats, fines, detention, and even deportation."

The cardinal, who also holds the role of director of Caritas Venezuela, reports how the government tries to silence dissent. "Every time a protest is scheduled, another event is organized on the same day and at the same time." The clash between government and opposition has been going on for five years, while the people suffer from the lack of essential goods. "I saw a 35-year-old priest dying from cerebral haemorrhage because there was no medicine available that could save him. But this tragic situation is constantly denied by official sources and we cannot even talk about humanitarian aid because apparently we have everything! "

The Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, seeing the delicate situation in Venezuela, also issued an appeal on 27 April to the Salesians, the Salesian Family in Venezuela and the Venezuelan people, praying for peace for all, "the Peace that always and everywhere in the world is possible only if it comes from the hand of Justice and Respect for the most inviolable human rights of each person."

Source: Aid for the Suffering Church


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