Caracas, Venezuela, Jan 30, 2019 / 15:01 pm
The Archbishop Emeritus of Caracas expressed his hope Tuesday that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro would step down from office, heeding the pope's call for peace in the country.
Maduro was sworn in for a second term as president Jan. 10, after winning a contested election in which oppositon candidates were barred from running or imprisoned. Venezuela's bishops have called his new term illegitimate, and opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself the country's interim president.
“I hope Maduro, who always appeals to the pope's words, heeds those calls, and steps down from office since his administration has been absolutely harmful for the Venezuelan people,” Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency, Jan. 29.
Cardinal Urosa, 76, retired as Archbishop of Caracas in July 2018.
“We Venezuelan bishops always feel the constant support of the Holy Father in our position critical of the government,” the cardinal added.
On his return flight from Panama to Rome Jan. 28 Pope Francis said he was frightened by “the shedding of blood” in Venezuela and urged reaching a just and peaceful solution to the crisis.
“What is it that scares me? The shedding of blood. And there I also ask greatness to help, to those who can help and resolve the problem,” the Holy Father said.
Since Jan. 21, at least 40 people have died and hundreds have been arrested amid protests against Maduro.