Merida, Venezuela, Jul 9, 2019 / 21:01 pm
Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo said Monday that conditions in Venezuela continue to deteriorate under the country's socialist government.
“We are living in an exceptional and unheard-of situation, which is not the result of war, nor of any armed conflict, or any natural catastrophe, and yet which is having similar consequences. The political regime that is running Venezuela has broken the country and has generated an atmosphere of social conflict that is steadily growing worse,” Cardinal Porras, Archbishop of Mérida and Apostolic Administrator of Caracas, told the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need July 8.
Under the socialist administration of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has been marred by violence and social upheaval, with severe shortages of food and medicine, high unemployment, and hyperinflation. More than 4 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015.
“People are leaving on account of their economic situation and because of their political ideas, while others are doing so on account of the harassment and repression in the country, whose economic system is now practically ruined,” the cardinal reflected.
“There is absolutely no security under the law. At the same time there is no work and no proper healthcare, there is no possibility for people of bringing home even the minimum to support their family.”
Earlier this year, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, head of the opposition-controlled legislature the National Assembly, declared himself interim president of Venezuela, saying Maduro's victory in a contested 2018 election was invalid. Guaidó has been recognized by a number of Western governments, but has been largely unable to secure the support of Venezuela's military.
The National Assembly has been superseded by the pro-government Constituent Assembly, formed in 2017 after contested elections.
Porras said that negotiations held in Oslo between the government and the opposition are “an opportunity to discover if there is any will to restore democracy, which has for now been totally sidelined in this country.”