CARTAGENA, Colombia (CNS) — At the Church of St. Peter Claver, a saint venerated throughout the Americas as a champion of human rights, Pope Francis offered special prayers for Venezuela and its people suffering in the midst of a huge political and economic crisis.
“From this place, I want to assure my prayers for each of the countries of Latin America, especially for nearby Venezuela. I expressed my closeness to each of the sons and daughters of this beloved nation, as well as for those who have found in Colombia a place of welcome,” he said Sept. 10 in Cartagena.
Venezuela has been torn by violence and stricken with severe shortages of food and medicine as its political crisis drags on.
More than 100 people have died in protests as President Nicolas Maduro has attempted to install a constituent assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution and consolidate his power. “From this city, the seat of human rights, I call for the cessation of every kind of violence in political life,” the pope said.
He expressed hope for a peaceful solution to the “grave crisis” Venezuela is experiencing and which affects all its citizens, “especially the poorest and most disadvantaged in society.”