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The Holy Father With The Venezuelan Bishops in July 2018 © Vatican Media

Pope Expresses Closeness to Meeting on Venezuelan Border

‘Charity on the Frontier’

Through Cardinal Turkson the Holy Father, yesterday expressed his closeness to the participants in the Episcopal meeting “Charity on the frontier” which is taking place these days (January 30-31) in Cucuta in Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, according to an announcement January 31, 2020, by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.  Bruni said Pope Francis follows the situation in the area carefully and prays “for the victims and all Venezuelans”, in the awareness that the local Church has mobilized entirely, not in favor of one or the other side, but to stand on the side of those who suffer.

The meeting is promoted by the Department for Integral Human Development and by the Migrants and Refugees Section and involves bishops and priests from the area.

“We are not an NGO: our mission goes beyond mere assistance”, underlined the Cardinal in his message during the opening of the meeting, reported by Fides News Agency. “The field of action of the Dicastery promotes the integral development of man in the light of the Gospel. In particular, our Dicastery is responsible for migration, the needy, the sick and the excluded, the unemployed and victims of any form of slavery and torture. These vulnerable people are those whom the Dicastery is called to serve. The international community does not seem to be able to provide adequate solutions to this immense ‘ocean of pain’ – says Cardinal Turkson. Together with neighboring countries, representatives of the local episcopates and of ecclesial institutions and religious congregations, the Apostolic Nunciatures, numerous Catholic charitable organizations and NGOs also work at the forefront.”

The Prefect of the Dicastery explains the intention to establish “a platform, an information sharing service, through which to obtain a more unified picture of the Church’s charitable action in the context of the emergency, identifying concrete guidelines for future interventions, useful for mitigating the humanitarian impact of the crisis. We have seen that this model, which was welcomed by the actors involved in the Middle East, managed to create and consolidate a solidarity network.”

The Venezuelan crisis is one of the most serious in recent decades and has reached dramatic levels. According to the latest UNHCR and IOM estimates, the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean is about 4.5 million, of whom over one million in Colombia, 500,000 in Peru and the rest in neighboring countries with Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States of America and Spain.

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