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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Venezuelan bishops say fresh calls for protest are ‘sign of hope’

The Venezuelan bishops’ conference labelled fresh calls for anti-government street protests as “a sign of hope” in the country, which continues to suffer through a deep economic and humanitarian crisis.

“Something new is starting in our country: necessary changes towards the integral human development of everyone, while always respecting democracy and the national constitution,” the bishops wrote in a statement released on 22nd January.

The country’s opposition has called for mass demonstrations on 23rd January against newly sworn in incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. The opposition-controlled legislature and around 60 countries have promised not to recognise Maduro in his new term, which began on 10th January. Opponents called Maduro’s May 2018 re-election a sham.

“The Church sees tomorrow as the beginning of hope for change,” Auxiliary Bishop Jose “Trino” Fernandez Angulo of Caracas told Catholic News Service on 22nd January, ahead of the protests. “A change is necessary here given the crisis, which is seen in hospitals and with families that don’t have enough foods or medicines, and in every corner of the country.”

Picture: Demonstrators stand behind a burning barricade on 21st January, 2019, during clashes with Venezuelan National Guards close to one of their outposts in Caracas. The Venezuelan bishops’ conference labelled fresh calls for anti-government street protests as “a sign of hope” in the country, which continues to suffer through a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. (CNS photo/Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Reuters).