Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, "condemns the attack of armed groups against citizens who were peacefully participating in the popular consultation on the Constituent Assembly, and the subsequent attack against the people who were in the parish. Cardinal Archbishop of Caracas calls on the government to guarantee police protection for priests, deacons and lay people who work with dedication and generosity at the service of the people of Catia. And the violence against the people must absolutely stop". This is written in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Caracas, sent to Fides, regarding the incidents that occurred last Sunday, July 16, in Catia, northwest of the capital. On Sunday, about 7 million Venezuelans participated in the "symbolic" referendum, convened by the opposition, on the Constituent Assembly wanted by President
Nicolas Maduro, in a climate of tension and intimidating acts. 98.4% of Venezuelans voted against the draft of rewriting the Constitution.
According to the note of the Archdiocese, on Sunday, July 16, feast of the Virgin of Carmen, Cardinal Urosa Savino went to the parish of Nuestra Señora del Carmen in Catia, to celebrate the patronal feast as every year. After the solemn Mass, the Cardinal greeted some of the faithful and met priests and deacons. Subsequently, they were informed that a group of men had attacked the citizens who were participating in the consultation near the church, but not in the parish. The people took refuge in the church, and a few moments later they heard two explosions of four shots each. It was then known that a person had died and others had been injured.
The violent group continued to disturb those who had taken refuge in the church. The aggressors prevented people from going out. Given the seriousness of the situation, the Cardinal requested the intervention of the authorities, while the pastor asked the aggressors to put an end to the siege, reiterating that the parish structures were not allowed for the referendum.
Around 2.40pm, the police authorities arrived, which allowed the people in the church to escape on vehicles provided by the police.
"The last to leave the church after almost three hours of illegal siege - concludes the note - was Cardinal Uros, who thanked the police for their collaboration and asked them to guarantee the security of the priests, deacons and parish staff. They promised to do it". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 18/07/2017)