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The Latest: Vatican Backs Venezuela Clerics amid Crisis

The Latest: Vatican Backs Venezuela Clerics amid Crisis

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:39 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela, where opponents of President Nicolas Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution have called a general strike for Thursday. (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

The Vatican is voicing support for Venezuelan Roman Catholic clergy, who have come out against the government's plans to rewrite the constitution.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin is the pope's secretary of state. He writes to Caracas Archbishop Jorge Urosa that he has prayed for "a peaceful and democratic solution for the country, and for the authorities to hear the people's calls for liberty, reconciliation and peace."

The Episcopal Conference of Venezuela says Urosa was trapped in a church with hundreds of people Sunday when a pro-government motorcycle gang attacked people waiting to cast symbolic votes in an opposition-organized referendum protesting the rewriting of the nation's charter.

President Nicolas Maduro criticized the Venezuelan Church in a nationally televised address Tuesday night.

He said "We are not the Christians of the traitorous cardinals who serve the capitalists and perverts of the world."

10:55 a.m.

Protesters have set up spontaneous roadblocks across Venezuela's capital a day before a general strike planned by opponents of government plans to rewrite the constitution.

Homemade barricades blocked streets throughout Caracas on Wednesday morning, paralyzing activity. Some public bus lines also shut down, forcing passengers to walk miles to work.

Venezuela's government intends to hold a July 30 election to select an assembly charged with rewriting the nation's charter. President Nicolas Maduro's allies have called on the assembly to impose executive-branch authority over the few remaining institutions outside the control of the ruling party.

Renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, a target of criticism for his closeness to the government, came out against the assembly in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday.

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The Latest on the political crisis in Venezuela, where opponents of President Nicolas Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution have called a general strike for Thursday. (all times local):11:25 a.m.The Vatican is voicing support for Venezuelan Roman Catholic clergy, who...
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:39 AM
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