Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is seen in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 8, 2019. CNS photo/Andres Martinez Casares, Reuters

Church working to help Venezuelans to transitional government

By 
  • March 8, 2019
LIMA, Peru – Catholic Church leaders in Venezuela say a peaceful transfer of power from embattled President Nicolas Maduro to a transitional government, probably led by National Assembly president Juan Guaido, is the best hope for the crisis-wracked country.

But it is impossible to say when, or whether, that will happen, according to Jesuits and analysts who met March 4-7 at Jesuit-run Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University here to analyze the situation.

"As church and as the Society of Jesus, we don't want a violent outcome that prolongs the people's suffering," Jesuit Father Jose Virtuoso, president of Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela, told Catholic News Service. "We favor a transition that is as peaceful as possible."

Venezuela's spiraling political and economic crisis has caused shortages of food and medicine and interrupted public services like water, electricity and transportation. A power outage affecting most of the country stretched into a second day March 8, forcing schools and offices to close.

The hardships have forced many people to leave the country in search of jobs, Father Virtuoso said. An estimated 3 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, according to U.N. agencies. Many have crossed the border into neighboring countries, where they often face discrimination and must work in low-paying jobs in the informal economy.

The impact of the crisis has rippled through Venezuelan society, affecting parishes and schools as well as ordinary people, said Father Rafael Garrido, provincial of the Jesuits in Venezuela.

Every aspect of life has been disrupted, he said. Something as simple as a family outing to a park may be impossible because of a lack of transportation, while "going to the movies means skipping a meal" to be able to pay for a ticket.

The poorest people suffer most, and parishes try to help, giving priority to people with life-threatening medical problems and malnourished children.

"The church is making an enormous effort to accompany people," but with inflation running at a mind-boggling 2.69 million percent in January, it is difficult for parishes to pay operating expenses and meet people's needs for aid, Father Garrido said.

Without basic services like water, schools have cut back class hours, he said. Some children in low-income neighborhoods have been forced to drop out of school.

Universities are suffering a brain drain as professors and researchers take better-paying jobs outside the country, Father Virtuoso said.

College students also drop out to emigrate. Although they may hope to resume their studies, their immediate concern is to find work to help support their families, he said.

The Venezuelan crisis also has international consequences because of other countries' economic and political interests, Father Virtuoso said. Negotiations for a peaceful transition would probably have to include Russia, China and Cuba, which support Maduro for various reasons, and the United States, European Union and the Lima Group, a group of 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries, which back opposition leader Guaido, he said.

A change of government would not solve Venezuela's problems immediately. A new administration would have to stop inflation and jump-start the country's economy, restore public services and rebuild the deteriorated health care and educational systems.

"That will only be possible if a healthy climate of peaceful coexistence, of acceptance, of nonviolence is created," Father Virtuoso said. "The church is called to collaborate directly in that."

The crisis and the political polarization that preceded it have "caused many wounds, much resentment, much hatred," he added.

Nevertheless, Father Garrido predicted that people will be patient with reconstruction "if people see clear signs that the government is concerned about the people and places the people at the top of its agenda."

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Comments (1)

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It Will Begin Here.”
This crisis in Venezuela is greater than it is realized. At the time, it was not clear what Maria Esperanza was trying to convey, but when we look at what is happening in Venezuela...

It Will Begin Here.”
This crisis in Venezuela is greater than it is realized. At the time, it was not clear what Maria Esperanza was trying to convey, but when we look at what is happening in Venezuela today, this prophetic message is becoming clearer. She stated: “It will begin here.”
Maria Esperanza, who received apparitions of Mary, Mother of Jesus at Betania, Venezuela has received formal approval by the Catholic Church. She was an unusual mystic who predicted the destruction of the Towers in New York. She said the yellow races “would stand up.” We see China and North Korea clearly standing their ground these days. 2
What will begin in Venezuela? Since 1999, Venezuela socialist governments have tried to have affordable basic goods for all including the poor. Venezuela was one of the highest oil producing nations and considered the top economic nation for a time in South America. Poor management decisions with food, oil, currency controls by President Chavez and continuing with President Maduro has led their nation into chaos with many not having enough to eat and with millions of people leaving their country. 4, 5
It has begun in Venezuela. The breakdown of one of the most prosperous nations on earth has begun. The breakdown of nations closer to home such as Canada and the USA have already begun morally and now politically. In a short time economically. Then food shortages. No one including me, wants to believe this. But it is coming…
A book and web site called, “After The Warning To 2038”, have many prophecies from credible, Catholic sources that are predicting many more future events.

1 The Bridge to Heaven – Interviews with Maria Esperanza by Michael H. Brown
2 Other info from Spiritdaily.org archives https://www.spiritdaily.org/mystery%20iraq.htm
3 Maria Esperanza giving pilgrims rose petals(pic). https://thecatholictravelguide.com/destinations/venezuela/betania-venezuela-apparitions-healings-mystic-maria-esperanza/
4 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36319877
5 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/venezuela-economic-woes-2017-explained/

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