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Venezuela’s bishops appeal for calm amid presidential vote audit

Catholic World News - April 22, 2013

The bishops of Venezuela are appealing for calm after the head of the National Electoral Council announced an audit of the recent presidential election vote.

According to initial results, Nicolás Maduro, who was the late Hugo Chávez’s vice president, defeated Henrique Capriles Radonski by a margin of less than 2%. Maduro has been sworn in as president.

The election results manifest the “acute political polarization that affects Venezuelan society,” the bishops said in a statement.

“In the name of God we exhort the political and social leaders to banish offensive, denigrating, and incendiary language,” the bishops continued, “to avoid street battles that often result in acts of violence and sometimes death, to hear the Word of God that invites dialogue and reconciliation.”

Pope Francis added his own appeal for calm in Venezuela during his midday audience on Sunday, April 21. Acknowledging the "serious difficulty that the country is undergoing," the Pontiff called upon the people of Venezeula "to firmly reject any type of violence and to establish a dialogue based in truth, mutual recognition, in the search for the common good, and in love for the nation."

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