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Venezuelan cardinal: We pray for a happy new year, and push for change in government

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CNA Staff, Jan 6, 2021 / 09:09 pm MT (CNA).- In a New Year’s message posted on the Archdiocese of Caracas website, Archbishop Emeritus Jorge Urosa Savino said that despite the chaotic situation in Venezuela, Catholics can still hope for a Happy 2021, but that the country urgently needs a change of government.

“Can we wish a ‘happy new year’ in the midst of so many calamities? Well yes, despite everything. Because we know that even in the midst of the pandemic, of economic, social and political problems, in the midst of negative personal circumstances that some of us may suffer, God is with us,” wrote the cardinal in his Jan. 4 message.

Inflation in Venezuela surpassed 10 million percent in 2020, and many Venezuelans’ monthly salaries cannot cover the cost of a gallon of milk. More than 3 million Venezuelans have left the country in the last three years, many of them on foot.

“The political, economic and social situation continues to be very bad, with runaway inflation and extremely high devaluation, which make us all increasingly poor. The outlook is bleak, because this government has not been able to solve the problems of ordinary administration, nor guarantee the fundamental rights of the people, especially to life, food, health, and transportation,” Cardinal Urosa wrote.

However, he stressed that “happiness does not come from material things but, above all, from the goodness and mercy of God our heavenly Father, who is the source of happiness.”

He invited Christians to remember, particularly in the Christmas season, that Christ’s incarnation and birth mean that God is truly with us.

“[A]nd so we can have confidence and hope even in the midst of the worst circumstances.”

The archbishop emeritus recalled that since January 2019, the bishops of Venezuela “have expressed the need for a change of government, since the current one cannot deal with the country’s problems.”

“We will meet soon to study the situation, establish our position and give general guidelines in this regard,” he said. “Especially when recently, UN agencies and the International Criminal Court have made very serious accusations of human rights violations by this government.”

The Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference will gather in plenary assembly from January 7-11 to discuss the current political situation and to plan for a National Pastoral Assembly in 2021.

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