“The every day situation on the social level is getting worse because we’re in a process like a toboggan careening downward due not only to the prices of food and medicine, but also the absence of respect for human rights,” he lamented.
Inflation in Venezuela in 2018 was estimated by the National Assembly at 1.3 million percent.
In the interview, Cardinal Porras mentioned the ineffectiveness of the Vatican's previous mediation with Maduro's government.
In August 2017 the Holy See urged Venezuela's government to refrain from its constitutional assembly and to respect the existing constitution. Maduro ignored this invitation and went ahead with the Constituent Assembly, which has superseded the National Assembly, Venezuela's opposition-controlled legislature.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, was apostolic nuncio to Venezuela from 2009 until his October 2013 appointment to the secretariat.
On Feb. 4 the Venezuelan bishops' conference, the Confederation of Religious Men and Women of Venezuela, and the National Council of Laity issued a joint statement reiterating the call for free elections and to allow outside humanitarian aid to come into the country, which Caritas Venezuela has requested from the government for the last three years, as it does not have the resources to meet the people's need.
Cardinal Porras said Feb. 1 that the actions taken by Guaidó as interim president have given the people confidence, and called for “a period of transition leading to free elections with international oversight.”
Guaidó has arranged for the delivery of aid shipments to the country, which Maduro is refusing.
A tanker truck and a cargo container are currently blocking the Tienditas bridge which connects Cucuta, Colombia, to Urena, Venezuela.
The Venezuelan military placed the obstacles to prevent aid shipments entering the country, as Maduro has said it would be the beginning of a US-led invasion.
Caritas Venezuela has been asking for three years that humanitarian aid be allowed into the country.
Since Maduro succeeded Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela in 2013, Venezuela has been marred by violence and social upheaval. Under the socialist government, the country has seen severe shortages and hyperinflation, and millions have emigrated.
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This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.