Pope to Meet with Venezuelan Bishops
The June 8th meeting was requested by the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) “to discuss with His Holiness the situation in Venezuela.”
By Charlette Sosa
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pope Francis will discuss Venezuela’s crisis with the country’s top bishops this Thursday, the Vatican announced today.
The June 8th meeting was requested by the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) “to discuss with His Holiness the situation in Venezuela,” said Greg Burke, the Director of the Holy See Press Office.
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has been unable to quash the recent stream of protests catalyzed by the contentious moves of the country’s top court for an annulment of the opposition led National Assembly. Despite the sharp u-turn on the rulings, demonstrations against the Maduro Administration have been non-stop since April 4th.
The ranks span all social classes. According to the Attorney General’s Office, the death toll has reached 59 — other sources, including the Latin American Herald Tribune, put this number above 70.
Poverty, unrest, impunity, corruption, and widespread shortages in food, electricity, medicine, and basic goods now define what had once been one of the richest countries in Latin America. Polls show that 80% of the population want Maduro out through new presidential elections.
Maduro’s solution to the civil unrest — heavy handed repression and a National Constituent Assembly to scrap the current Constitution — has been labeled as “unnecessary” by the CEV. Venezuela “does not need to reform the constitutional text, rather the Government needs to give full compliance to the full spirit and letter” of our current Constitution, the CEV says.
CEV President Mons Diego Padrón told the Spanish newspaper ABC, “people are dying” however “faced with such a difficult situation” Maduro’s government “only presents a Constituent Assembly that does not correspond to important needs, such as the opening of a humanitarian channel.”
On Sunday during a televised speech, Maduro threatened “war” if the Constituent doesn’t go through on July 30th.
Pope Francis has spoken many times on the difficulties in Venezuela. He has repeatedly called for “negotiated solutions” to end the “serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis” Venezuelans are suffering.