Venezuela's Christians urge prayer as crisis mounts

Venezuela's churches have called for prayer amid the country's crisis as pressure mounts on President Maduro to step down from his position.

ReutersVenezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is under pressure domestically and internationally.

Mass demonstrations against the economic mismanagement that has seen the country plunged into poverty have been taking place. According to Evangelical Focus, Pastor Samuel Olson, president of the Evangelical Council of Venezuela, invited the nation to pray 'together as a family, asking God that through His Holy Spirit cares, directs and blesses our nation in this critical hour of its history'.

Evangelical Focus also cites the Confederation Union of Christian Churches of Venezuela as backing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the man 'called to conduct the nation in this period of transition'. The group also called for 'an end to the usurpation of the Presidency of the Republic', and asked for 'an urgent government of transition and free elections in the context of a big national agreement'.

Latin American nations have called on Maduro to resign and have recognised Guaido as interim president, with longstanding leftist allies Bolivia and Cuba the only countries in the region to voice explicit support for Maduro.

The United States and Canada also recognized Guaido – the 35-year-old leader of Venezuela's opposition-dominated National Assembly – as Venezuela's legitimate ruler.

However, Mexico – once a vocal member of the Lima Group regional bloc created to pressure Maduro to enact democratic reforms – struck a discordant note under new leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, saying it would not take sides and branding support for Guaido a violation of sovereignty.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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