At the Church of St. Peter Claver, a saint venerated throughout the Americas as a champion of human rights, Pope Francis offered special prayers for Venezuela and its people suffering in the midst of a huge political and economic crisis.
The St. Cloud Mission Office has experienced difficulty in communicating with our sister Diocese of Maracay, Venezuela, as the country’s political turmoil has worsened.
Amid political turmoil in Venezuela, Father Ben Kociemba, associate director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Cloud, traveled to the country to visit a priest friend he met while studying in seminary.
In a strongly worded statement, the Vatican called on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to respect the will of the people and respect the nation’s current constitution.
The Venezuelan council of the bishops’ conference said in a statement released July 27 stating the referendum is illegal and will only increase the suffering of the Venezuelan people.
Jorge Quiroga, former president of Bolivia, stated the election of President Nicolas Maduro’s friends as a ‘constituent assembly’ “will install a Soviet state in Venezuela, liquidate democracy, end the Congress, cancel elections and turn Venezuela into a sort of Caribbean ‘North Korea.”
Amidst anti-government protests in Venezuela which turned deadly after March 29, when the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled to dissolve the country’s parliament, Pope Francis called for an end to the bloodshed.
Pope Francis met privately with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, urging a peaceful dialogue between the country’s government and opposition to resolve the current political and economic crisis, the Vatican said.