WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has now made a statement regarding the violence and protests of Venezuela, calling for peace.
Reuters reported that the protests have killed at least 13 people and Pope Francis is urging both sides to come to an agreement.
Students have taken to the streets of Caracas, Venezuela to protest President Nicolas Maduro and his policies. Maduro narrowly won a contentious and disputed election, and has overseen a struggling economy, high inflation, high levels of violent crime, shortages of basic supplies like toilet paper or wine for Catholic Communion and repression and imprisonment of political rivals.
Maduro has blamed the U.S. for starting the protests and expelled three American consulate officials.
Rallies and counter-rallies have taken place in the country and poses a threat to Maduro’s 10-month presidency. Some have indicated that Ukraine’s recent revolution, where pro-European Union protesters toppled a pro-Russian president, could be an example for Venezuela (as reported by the Financial Times).
Pope Francis told followers at St. Peter’s Square:
“I sincerely hope the violence and hostility ends as soon as possible, and that the Venezuelan people, beginning with the responsible politicians and institutions, act to foster national reconciliation through mutual forgiveness and sincere dialogue.”