THE former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, said that Venezuelan bishops strongly condemned the “immoral” repression perpetrated by the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro.
The condemnation came after protests erupted in Venezuela this month, as the President came under renewed pressure from the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, to step down.
President Maduro said in a television address that he had defeated the “coup-mongering far Right”, while Mr Guaidó, the leader of the National Assembly, said that his “peaceful rebellion” would continue.
Mr Guaidó has accused the President of waging “state terrorism” against those who want to oust him. He told The Guardian this week: “Today what we are seeing is terror, the sowing of terror, which is all the Maduro regime has left.” He also said that regime was “in its final moments”.
The United States has supported Mr Guaidó and his opposition regime since he emerged on the scene, and vocally backed his last attempted “rebellion”, although it was reported that the plot had not received US resources or planning support.
This week, he asked the US military for “strategic and operational planning”.
In his television address after the failed coup, President Maduro said: “They failed in their plan. They failed in their call, because the people of Venezuela want peace. We will continue to emerge victorious . . . in the months and years ahead. I have no doubt about it.”
Crux reported that Cardinal Urosa Savino said: “The bishops maintain our position to call for peaceful and democratic solutions. We consider that the ongoing repression is immoral, as is the fact that the current political leaders want to remain in power despite the heartache, pain, and economic and structural disaster that Venezuela is currently in.”
In February, RC bishops in Venezuela called for an end to the repression and violence unfolding across the country (News, 1 February).
In a statement, they said: “We deeply deplore so much death, pain, and suffering of our people. The toll of injured, dead, arbitrarily detained, tortured, and persecuted throughout the land violates the dignity and human rights of the citizens. It is a clamour that cries out: ‘Stop the repression.’”
The bishops had also backed the initially peaceful protests by Mr Guiadó. They are currently meeting in their national assembly, and were expected to release a statement on Wednesday, Crux now reported.
Also in February, the Samaritan’s Purse’s country director for Colombia, Eric Huxley, said that the crisis in Venezuela was “overwhelming”, and was causing “desperate” people to flee the country (News, 15 February).
He said: “It is hard to see a change in the country; the people I meet don’t have hope, which is why they make the desperate decision to leave their homes.”
Venezuela remains in an economic crisis: people are affected by high levels of inflation.