Amid Venezuela protests, Catholic Church backs recall of president
Catholic News Agency Sep 3, 2016
Caracas, Venezuela, Sep 2, 2016 / 05:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Venezuela’s government is suffering from a “chronic” hearing disorder in face of the suffering of the people, charged Archbishop Diego Padrón Sánchez of Cumaná, president of the Venezuelan bishops' conference. He emphasized the peaceful and democratic character of the “Taking of Caracas” demonstration in the Venezuelan capital, which brought together as many as 1 million citizens who support a referendum to recall President Nicolás Maduro.
From the early hours of Sept. 1, opponents and sympathizers of Maduro’s government took to the streets. However, the government’s critics vastly outnumbered government supporters, according to organizers. Archbishop Padrón said, “what the people have done, both the opposition and government supporters, was a free, democratic, constitutional and peaceful expression of the awareness of their civil rights.”
“We have been praying for a long time in the various parishes with days of prayer and fasting so that the conduct of the Sept. 1 demonstrations and the development of the activities in support of Venezuelan democracy would take place in the greatest climate of respect and peacefulness,” he said in a statement from the bishops’ conference press office.
The archbishop charged that the government “carried out violence with the various persecutions conducted against different opposition leaders.” “The government's hearing disorder has become chronic in the face of the people’s suffering, shortages, food shortages, the high cost of living and lack of public safety,” he complained.
Archbishop Padrón also criticized the government for restricting transit throughout the country in an attempt to prevent the success of the “Taking of Caracas” protests. “The government has made a serious mistake in opposing the will of the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God,” the Venezuelan archbishop said.
The archbishop said that although he has “a lot of respect for the march or demonstration by the government,” objectively there is no comparison with that of the opponents, since “any citizen can notice the enormous difference in the turnout, the opposition majority versus the low participation by government supporters.” “There is a clear message to the government, and so the recall referendum by the Venezuelan people is already underway,” he said.