Police used teargas to turn back the marchers before they reached the National Assembly. Opposition party lawmakers held an impromptu, but legally valid, outdoor session of the legislative assembly in a nearby city square.
In January 2019, Guaidó, as president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself interim president of the country, after president Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term, having won a contested election in which opposition candidates were barred from running or imprisoned. Guaidó and the Venezuelan bishops held Maduro's second term to be invalid, and the presidency vacant.
Much of the international community consider Maduro's re-election illegitimate. Nearly 60 nations led by the United States have recognized Guaidó as the country's acting president, but with the backing of the military, Maduro is firmly entrenched and Guaidó has no practical power other than the popular support he can muster.
The communications office of the interim president described a statement of demands passed during the impromptu legislative session, the National Conflict Statement, as “a legal instrument,” which following its passage, creates laws “to provide a response to the country's social needs.”
The document has a legal character and compliance would be obligatory should a transitional government actually be constituted.
Azuaje said that the country can't continue to go down the spiral of deterioration. Therefore “structural changes are needed in politics, the economy and the leadership that go beyond ideological interests or to holding on to power at all costs,” he pointed out.
“Hence the challenge to continue to build a citizenry that facilitates a more just and free society, which permits the promotion and protection of the dignity of the human person and encourages integral human development,” Azuaje noted.
The bishop also expressed his dismay that an unnamed member of Maduro's government called for a "countermarch," and he criticized the people "who have had to bow to official purposes for different interests."
"Sent by their superiors, the military establishment has been present on a large scale since March 9, on different streets and avenues in the cities that belong to civil society, but are blocked by those who should be the servants of the people," the bishop lamented, urging the country’s military forces "to fulfill their mission to safeguard and protect the people."
The president of the Venezuelan bishops' conference added that “we're all Venezuelans and we have to respect each other, find ways to understand each other, and meet each other as brothers.”
“Violence leads us to the destruction of what's left of the social fabric,” he stressed.
Venezuela has been torn by violence, upheaval, shortages of basic necessities and food stuffs, widespread hunger, power and water supply outages and hyperinflation under the Nicolas Maduro regime. According to the Organization of American States (OAS), the number of Venezuelans fleeing the country is expected to total 6 million by the end of the year.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
A version of this story was first published by Aci Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.