.- Pope Benedict XVI has called on Venezuelans to trust that God will help them “overcome the current climate of uncertainty” that the country is experiencing “due to President Hugo Chavez’s long recovery.”
According to a Jan. 22 statement by the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, the Pope sent his message to the nation during a meeting with the president of Caritas Venezuela and the first vice president of the conference, Archbishop Jose Luis Azuaje.
“God does not abandon us, he is always present in history, encouraging through his Spirit the transformations necessary so that man and woman might have life in abundance,” the Holy Father said.
Archbishop Azuaje said that the Pontiff’s words “should be a guide for action and an itinerary for hope amidst so many uncertainties.”
Chavez, who was recently re-elected to a new six-year term, remains in Cuba, where he underwent surgery on Dec. 11 for pancreatic cancer. His current condition is unknown, although the government has said that he is recovering.
However, the leader was prevented from taking the oath of office on Jan. 10.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled the previous day that the swearing in could be postponed until Chavez has fully recovered and that Vice President Nicolas Maduro could temporarily assume leadership of the administration.