Pope Francis’ former cathedral in Argentina was vandalized over the weekend, two Latin American cardinals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and a bishop in Venezuela has clashed with military forces who blocked humanitarian aid from reaching a severely flooded region.
At the closing of the plenary assembly of the Venezuelan bishops, the prelates released a pastoral exhortation calling for a change in the political leadership and denouncing the “violent repression” by the government of those demanding the respect of human rights.
There was no “bang” when most of Latin America rang in the New Year due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but in Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil, 2021 brought “new” concerns.
According to one Venezuelan bishop, the world should be concerned by the growing military presence of Iran in his country.
The Venezuelan bishops’ conference said government plans for congressional elections in December are “immoral” and would only aggravate the South American nation’s political and humanitarian crisis.
For Miguel Guilarte who works for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as the manager of public affairs, what he witnessed last week at the border of Venezuela-Colombia border was harrowing.
Pope Francis welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Vatican July 4, and the two discussed the ongoing wars in Eastern Ukraine and in Syria, the Vatican said. Russia plays a major role in both conflicts.
Cardinal Jorge Urosa, former Archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela, says the local bishops strongly condemn what he called the “immoral” repression perpetrated by the government of Nicolas Maduro, which, according to the United Nations, has seen at least five people killed in the past few days, three of them minors.
While growing up in Cuba, I had a friend who used to say, “My dream is to live in a boring country.” I was thinking about his wish while reading the news coming from Venezuela during the last weeks.
As political unrest increases in Venezuela, hundreds of soldiers and police officers are deserting and seeking shelter in neighboring Colombia.