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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 Maduro government illegitimate, call for change

The Venezuelan bishops’ conference has labelled the new government of Nicolas Maduro “illegitimate” and called for a “change in government.”

The president was inaugurated for a second term on 10th January, despite dozens of countries around the world promising not to recognise his new term, calling his May re-election a sham.

“We are living in a de facto regime,” read a nine-point statement from the bishops released on 9th January. “The attempt to begin a new presidential term on 10th January 2019, is illegitimate in its origins, and it opens the door for the nonrecognition of the government.”

Maduro’s new term has plunged the South American country even deeper into a constitutional crisis, with some voices internationally and in the local opposition urging the president of the country’s opposition-controlled legislature to assume the presidency as a parallel government. On 13th January state intelligence officials briefly detained the legislature’s president, Juan Guaido, after the lawmaker announced a day prior he was “willing” to assume the presidency.

Speaking with Catholic News Service on 12th January, Auxiliary Bishop Jose “Trino” Fernandez Angulo of Caracas, conference general-secretary, said the bishops believe whether Guaido should be sworn in as president “was open to the interpretation of the law.”

Picture: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at Fuerte Tiuna military base in Caracas, Venezuela, on 10th January after his swearing-in for a second presidential term. The Venezuelan bishops’ conference has labelled his new government “illegitimate” and called for a “change in government.” (CNS photo/Adriana Loureiro, Reuters).