Following clashes between protesters and police in Venezuela, which left around 20 people dead last month, the World Council of Churches (WCC) president for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Rev Gloria Nohemy Ulloa Alvarado, has expressed concern over the violence.
She made her comments in conveying solidarity with the churches in Venezuela and condemning the violent plans of some of the opposition groups to the elected, left-wing government.
Responding to an appeal for peace made in a letter by the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela, Ulloa said, “We join in prayers with our brothers and sisters from the Presbyterian Church in Venezuela. We ask God to hear the anguished cry of so many families.”
Ulloa expressed her hopes that “the wisdom of God would guide the government, the opposition, the youth and the Venezuelan people to sit around the table and find appropriate solutions”.
Drafted by the delegates of the 34th General Council of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela, the initial letter emphasises that “violence and death can bring only more violence and death”.
The letter states that killings and conflict are by no means the way towards development in Venezuela, and it warns of the risk of sinking into “mindless fratricidal confrontation that benefits no one”.
The Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) has also encouraged Venezuelan churches to continue their work and prayers for peace, condemning “the illegal and anti-democratic intentions of the opposition in Venezuela to bring about regime change using violence”.
The Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro has been accused by the opposition of creating the situation that has led to food shortages and violations of freedom of speech.
On the other hand, Maduro and officials have blamed the opposition for threatening the nation’s security as well as economic problems. The rift between the two sides has generated the recent violence in the country.