Joseph Kelly

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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.

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OTHER NEWS

JOIN US FOR THE RE-DEDICATION EVENT -WATCH OUR LIVESTREAM BELOW AT NOON

THE REDEDICATION In 1381, England was dedicated to Mary by King Richard II and was 'set apart for her among the nations. This year, the Christians of England are called to make a personal dedication to Mary, taking up her example as Christ’s first disciple. History...

Prayers to say for the rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry

At noon today (Sunday, 29 March), England will be rededicated as the Dowry of Mary. While celebrations have been scaled back for obvious reasons, Catholics can still make join in at home by saying the prayers below. You can say the prayers at any time of day, although...

Online Mass and CAFOD are helping fill the holes left in our Sundays

With the coronavirus pandemic causing Masses across the country to be cancelled, there is now a large demand for virtual worship – and Catholic charity CAFOD hopes its weekly ‘Children’s Liturgy Live!’ will inspire families across the UK after the first session saw...

Catholic Churches in Europe opened to fight COVID-19

Catholic dioceses and religious orders across Europe are offering to turn church facilities into spaces needed for health care or housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Church leaders throughout Europe have been struggling to maintain Catholic religious devotions...

CAFOD takes its activities online as world stays home

With the onset of the coronavirus leaving many spending more time inside, organisations have swung into action moving their activities online, including UK charity CAFOD, which hopes its digital events and resources will unite international communities. The Covid-19...