By: Kelly Velasquez and Jordi Miro
Pope Francis left Colombia on Sunday with calls for reconciliation after its half-century civil battle and a peaceable finish to the lethal disaster in neighboring Venezuela.
The Argentine pope, 80, held the final in a collection of open-air plenty within the Caribbean metropolis of Cartagena — certainly one of Colombia’s high vacationer attracts but additionally certainly one of its poorest cities.
On the final day of his fifth go to as pope to his native continent, he reiterated calls for peace in Colombia and prayed for a peaceable finish to Venezuela’s “grave crisis.”
“I assure all of you of my prayers for each of the countries of Latin America, and in a special way for neighboring Venezuela,” Francis mentioned.
“I appeal for the rejection of all violence in political life and for a solution to the current grave crisis, which affects everyone, particularly the poorest and most disadvantaged of society.”
– ‘Pope should intervene’ –
Venezuela’s disaster has induced meals and medication shortages and clashes at anti-government protests that left 125 folks lifeless from April to July.
The Vatican tried unsuccessfully to mediate in negotiations final yr between Venezuela’s authorities and opposition.
Thousands of Venezuelans have fled to Colombia to flee the disaster.
“We could ask the pope to intervene directly for dialogue,” mentioned Venezuelan housewife Nancy Pugliese, 35, who attended Francis’s go to in Cartagena.
“We need all the spiritual support we can get to free Venezuela… The pope should tell President Maduro directly to listen to the people.”
On Sunday, Venezuela’s middle right-led opposition was holding a vote to decide on candidates for regional governorship elections scheduled for October.
The opposition MUD coalition and worldwide powers have accused Maduro of stifling democracy by taking up energy from state establishments.
– Peace in Colombia –
Francis reiterated his name for reconciliation in Colombia as it really works to seal an finish to a half-century civil battle.
He has supported a contested peace accord that has seen the disarmament of the nation’s greatest guerrilla pressure, the FARC. Critics say the guerrillas are getting off too frivolously, with amnesties and various sentences.
“Deep historic wounds necessarily require moments where justice is done… But that is only the beginning of the Christian response,” Francis mentioned throughout his mass in Cartagena.
“We are required to generate ‘from below’ a change in culture: so that we respond to the culture of death and violence with the culture of life and encounter.”
– Praying for the poor –
In Cartagena, Francis visited the impoverished district of San Francisco, the place he blessed the foundations of a brand new homeless shelter.
“We have a lot of faith in Francis’s visit to this forgotten district,” mentioned Willy Martinez, a 43-year-old bricklayer.
“Here, there are lots of people who only eat once a day. The worst thing is the corruption — that is worse than the bullets of the guerrillas or the paramilitaries.”
Francis prayed within the title of native holy figures, together with Saint Peter Claver, patron saint of slaves, who labored on this colonial port metropolis serving to victims of the slave commerce.
The pope defended the dignity of “those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking.”
– Pope will get ‘bashed’ –
Earlier, Francis received a reduce on his forehead and blood on his white cape when he bumped his head on the window of his Popemobile.
He was standing up within the specifically designed automobile, waving to admirers, when it braked sharply.
He was seen later with a bruise on his cheek and a small dressing on his forehead, however nonetheless smiling.
“I got bashed,” he joked to reporters.
Francis took off from Cartagena on his flight again to Rome on Sunday night.
By: Agence France-Presse