- Jan 18, 2020
Bishop Jose Trinidad Fernandez has seen up close the downward spiral of his native Venezuela. The capital city of Caracas, where he has worked for the last two decades, has in recent years seen tear gas attacks, physical assaults on citizens by government forces, and hungry and malnourished crowds asking for help in streets that once boasted some of the most well-off masses in all of Latin America.
Venzuela’s bishops have called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to “defend” the lives of the Venezuelan people.
Bishop Jose Manuel Romero Barrios spoke to CNS about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela.
While protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro raged across the country, National Guard forces loyal to the embattled head of state launched tear gas at churchgoers attending Mass at a local parish.
While Venezuela’s bishops have been leading a charge for Maduro’s removal, urging a boycott of what they call an “illegitimate” presidential election last year and denouncing the government’s human rights abuses, the Vatican has pursued a softer approach.
Tensions were high in Pacaraima, Brazil, and Santa Elena, Venezuela, with the announcement by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that he had closed the border between the two countries.