As Pope Francis appealed for political dialogue in Venezuela, the head of the country’s episcopal conference decried the “illegitimate regime” of Nicolas Maduro, whose misrule has left six million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Source: Vatican News.
The bishops of Venezuela continue their fight on behalf of the nation’s suffering citizens.
Pope Francis stepped into the fray once again on Sunday, launching an appeal for the parties to sit down to find a path out of the current crisis. He also reiterated his constant prayers for all Venezuelans.
In an interview with Vatican News, Archbishop Jose Luis Azuaje Ayala of Maracaibo said Venezuela’s bishops appreciate the Pope’s words in support of their people.
But, he said, many people have unrealistic expectations and “think that the Pope needs to repeat constantly not what he has said but what people want him to say.”
The archbishop said Pope Francis’ relationship with Venezuela, as a religious leader and head of Vatican City State, “has to be very respectful, leading the Pope to say what he has and to express his closeness with the people who suffer.”
Archbishop Azuaje said one extreme faction in the country is hoping an outside force will come to resolve the political crisis, whether it be a military intervention led by the United States or some “messiah”.
These unlikely events, he said, are not the real solution. “The path forward is simply that we – as Venezuelans, with the support of the international community – find solutions to this serious problem that we have.”
About six million people are in need of food aid, medicines, or healthcare. “We need much more and better aid,” he said
Speaking on behalf of Venezuela’s bishops, he decried the “inefficiency of the regime” of Mr Maduro. “In Maracaibo, the lights go out every five or six hours. There is no water.
“We continue to insist on the need for political change in the country, because without it there will be no change in the economic or social system.”
Mr Maduro, said Archbishop Azuaje, is an illegitimate president, “because the elections were illegitimate and full of irregularities.”