Catholic World News

Venezuelan government shirks responsibility for crisis, cardinal says as unrest grows

May 05, 2017

Hunger is becoming steadily more widespread as a political/economic crisis continues in Venezuela, but Cardinal Baltaz Porras Cardozo of Merida reports that the government of President Nicolas Maduro continues to deny responsibilty for the nation’s plight.

“The responsibility for everything that is happening is being attributed either to the opposition or to an ‘empire’ that wants to enter the country,” the cardinal said. He added that the government has also shown an increased tendency to blame public unrest on the Catholic hierarchy, which has issued multiple calls for negotiations to end the political stalemate. Cardinal Porras said that negotiations between the government and opposition could resume with the fulfillment of conditions that the government has refused to fulfill: the release of political prisoners, scheduling of elections, allowing the National Assembly to re-convene, and opening the country to international relief efforts to ease shortages of food and medicines.

Tensions rose in Venezuela with the spread of rumors that a prominent political prisoner, Leopoldo Lopez, had died in jail. Although the rumors were unconfirmed, they were sufficiently to trigger angry new public protests.

In another development, the country’s attorney general, broke with the Maduro administration to say that the National Assembly should not have been dissolved. Luisa Ortega also told the Wall Street Journal that the administration had overstepped its bounds in handling public protests.

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