Venezuelan Cardinal expresses concern at “broken” political regime
A Venezuelan cardinal is accusing the government of intimidation and has reiterated his appeal to President Nicolas Maduro to engage in dialogue.
Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida and Apostolic Administrator of Caracas, said that conditions in Venezuela continue to deteriorate under the country’s socialist government.
“We are living in an exceptional and unheard-of situation, which is not the result of war, nor of any armed conflict, or any natural catastrophe, and yet which is having similar consequences,” Cardinal Porras told the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
“The political regime that is running Venezuela has broken the country and has generated an atmosphere of social conflict that is steadily growing worse,” he said.
Under Maduro’s socialist administration, Venezuela has been blighted by violence and social upheaval, severe food and medicine shortages, and high unemployment. More than 4 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015.
Cardinal Porras complained that those who are bringing aid to the impoverished population and even parishes are continuously under pressure to stop work.
The opposition, led by Juan Guaido, wants a transitional government to replace Maduro’s administration, followed by closely monitored free elections.
Guaido declared himself interim president, a move which was recognised by more than fifty nations all around the world after stating that Maduro’s victory in a contested 2018 election was invalid. Meanwhile, Maduro still claims to be the democratically elected president.
Stalled talks between Venezuela`s Government and its opposition party are set to resume in Barbados.
A recent UN report revealed the government had committed a number of human rights abuses.
The cardinal said: “We are deeply concerned that in the last year the number of people who have been arrested, tortured, murdered or ‘disappeared’ has been growing.
“It is worrying that those involved in these actions include not only high-ranking members of the military, but also some members of the pro-government popular classes.”
Cardinal Porras paid tribute to the support of ACN, on behalf of the Church in Venezuela, for both material and spiritual support.
Picture: Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida in Rome, June 12, 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.