Pope Francis has appealed for an end to violence in Venezuela and for respect of human rights in the country where nearly 30 people have been killed in unrest this month.
The Pope’s appeal came on Sunday before the recitation of the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
“I make a heartfelt appeal to the government and all components of Venezuelan society to avoid any more forms of violence, to respect human rights and to seek a negotiated solution” he said.
Decrying the “grave humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population”, the Pope said we are continuing to receive dramatic news of people being killed, injured, and detained.
He said that he is “united in sorrow with the families of the victims” and said he is praying for “peace, reconciliation and democracy for that beloved nation.
Venezuela’s opposition is demanding elections, autonomy for the legislature where they have a majority, a humanitarian aid channel from abroad to alleviate an economic crisis, and freedom for more than 100 activists jailed by President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
Vatican-led talks between the government and the opposition have broken down. On Saturday evening during his return journey from Cairo, the Pope answered a question regarding the crisis in Venezuela and said that “very clear conditions” were necessary for the talks to resume.
Pope Francis also turned his thoughts and prayers for peace to all nations that are undergoing “grave difficulties” such as the Republic of Macedonia.