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Pope Francis spoke about Venezuela during his Christmas address at St. Peter’s Square today, and called for the political “tensions” that have brought the country to the point of collapse to be resolved.

During his yearly address, the Pope said:

[I ask that] in Venezuela the necessary steps to end the tensions [be taken] to build a future of hope together.

For her part, human rights activist Lilian Tintori – Leopoldo Lopez’s wife – shared her Christmas message to Venezuelans on Twitter. In an image published through her account showing her with her two children, Tintori said:

Let us hug Baby Jesus [the Venezuelan equivalent of Santa Claus] who lives inside all of us, and don’t let Christmas be stolen from us. Today, our hearts wish for freedom for Leopoldo and Venezuela!

The head of the Vente Venezuela opposition party, Maria Corina Machado, was interviewed by La Patilla on her impressions of 2016 and how she thinks 2017 will unfold. When asked where the struggle against the Maduro regime should begin for next year, Machado said:

[It must begin] through continuation. We’ve made great strides, and I insist that we’re almost there. The message to our citizens and to international democracy must be unequivocal: we will not stop until we’ve defeated the regime. This is why last week we went to Miraflores, and we will go back. We went there with a clear message: Out, Maduro! We also took to the streets for an hour around the country to press this message. We will continue to do this, each time for longer. We will continue to do this until we’ve achieved our goal. We Venezuelans know what we must do. The time has come.

Mercal Truck Attacked; One Killed

A truck carrying merchandise destined for a Mercal state-owned supermarket was attacked by an armed group in Bolivar state yesterday. Wilmer Vielma, a National Guard soldier who was part of a convoy that was escorting the truck, was killed during the attack. Two other National Guard soldiers were injured.

The truck was headed to Cojedes state.

The chronic food shortages affecting the country have made the re-selling of regulated food and basic necessities a lucrative business.


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