With a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, Nicolás Maduro has decreed a “state of alarm” at a time when the country is facing perhaps the “greatest crisis in its history” posing great concern for the health and well-being of Venezuelans.
In these times of uncertainty and difficulty, the Catholic Church has been the support of millions of Venezuelans. Thanks to the help of organizations like Aid to the Church in Need, the Church has been trying to alleviate the suffering of people who have lost their means of subsistence.
Recently, the Archbishop of Mérida and Apostolic Administrator of Caracas expressed great thanks for the that Aid to the Church in Need has been providing to his country. Cardinal Baltazar Porras said that the Catholic Church in Venezuela “does not lose hope, creativity and constancy”, and is totally dedicated to helping people in this social, political, economic and humanitarian crisis.
“The Church works creatively to serve others,” he said. “In the most popular neighborhoods, the Church’s presence is impressive, involved in all these communities with a joy and dedication that edify me”.
An example of this solidarity effort, parishes in Venezuela have been transformed into social cafeterias and medical dispensaries. It is “the simple and humble people who donate, as in the Gospel, what little they have”, said the Venezuelan cardinal, stressing that the work of priests, religious and lay people in this solidarity aid has been incredible: “they don’t just give food; accompany, donate time and dedication. The biggest lack now is that of affection ”.
In fact, practically five million Venezuelans – 4.9 million – have already left their homes since 2015, in what can be considered a mass flight of people from the poverty-stricken environment into which the South American country has fallen. The data were revealed last week by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who informed the UN Human Rights Council about the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, warning of acts of violence by law enforcement and government supporters “against opposition parliamentarians”.
The situation of economic crisis is having dramatic consequences for the population, especially people who are in a more vulnerable situation, namely children, the sick and the elderly.
Aid to the Church in Need has been supporting the Venezuelan church through various humanitarian emergency projects, which include supporting parish canteens, building water wells, purchasing electric generators, among other needs.