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As Venezuela’s president has responded defiantly after more violent protests in the capital, Christians have been urged to pray for believers in the country.  Alan Tower, national director for Christian charity Friends International and former international director of the South American Christian charity, Latin Link, said churches play a central role in the country.  “I think we just should be praying for churches to have wisdom,” he said.  “They are doing a lot socially, just looking after people’s basic needs, but in terms of where they choose to enter into the political debate needs immense wisdom.

“And we should pray for wisdom and guidance for church leaders to help the current political processes and to be looking after the churches and those that turn to the churches for help.” President Nicolas Maduro has refused to step down from power after opposition leader, Juan Guaido was recognised as interim leader of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, including the US, the UK and most in Latin America.  Mr Maduro claimed on state TV that a US-backed coup against him had failed.  The opposition leader has called for further action.  The violent street battles that erupted in parts of the capital Caracas were the most serious challenge yet to Mr Maduro’s rule.

The rebellion seems to have only limited military support.  One high-ranking official however announced he was breaking with Mr Maduro, in a setback for the embattled president.  The competing quests to solidify a hold on power capped a tense day that included a  moment when several armoured vehicles ploughed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base.  Tower said the violence against protesters wasn’t a “big surprise”. He explained that Hugo Chávez, the former president of Venezuela and Mr Maduro have been in power for 20 years and had attempted to reposition the country towards heavily state centred control.

He added: “It’s not a surprise in terms of the trajectory over 20 years, but it’s just becoming more and more extreme.  There have been shortages of basic items increasingly over recent years.  So more and more are emigrating and those that are there are protesting more loudly and more frequently.” US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Donald Trump administration was waiting for three key officials, including Mr Maduro’s defence minister and head of the Supreme Court, to act on what he said were private pledges to remove Mr Maduro.  He did not provide details.

Source: Premier News Service