Venezuelan Church Demands Maduro’s Exit from Power to Hold “Free Elections”

The Venezuelan Catholic Church demanded on July 11 Nicolás Maduro’s exit from power and a call for new elections as a solution to the severe political and economic crisis.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) | 5 August 2019

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The Episcopal Conference of Venezuela called for new elections and the exit of Nicolás Maduro on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Episcopal Conference of Venezuela)

“Venezuela cries out for a change of course […]. That change demands the exit of the one who exercises power illegitimately and the election of a new president as soon as possible,” said the Episcopal Conference in a statement read before an ordinary assembly.

Maduro “must retire” from the presidency “to allow for truly free […] elections,” added Archbishop Jesús González in a press conference.

On July 8, delegates of Maduro and Juan Guaidó resumed talks in Barbados initiated in May in Oslo to seek a way out of the crisis, with the mediation of Norway.

But Chavismo’s number two, Diosdado Cabello, denied on July 10 that the parties are discussing a call for new presidential elections.

Meanwhile, Guaidó, recognized by 50 countries as Venezuela’s president in charge, reiterated that he maintains his strategy to expel Maduro and build a transitional government to call for free elections.

Maduro, under whose government the oil country fell into the worst economic crisis of its modern history, was reelected in May 2018 in an electoral process boycotted by the opposition, which considered it fraudulent.

The socialist leader accuses the ecclesiastical leadership of acting like a political party, but with a marked difference with Pope Francis, who in the past supported dialogue between the government and the opposition.

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