Venezuela, a country at risk

paesaggio andino“In such a fractured and divided Venezuela we want to live the Gospel radically, wherever we work, or study, to build bridges of unity and peace.  In the town council for example, there are 3 people who live the spirituality of unity, one belonging to the Government’s party and 2 in the opposing parties, and yet they respect and help one another.” One of them Ophelia, of the Focolare community speaks about a marginal district of the city of Valencia called Colinas de Guacamaya “A friend of mine asked me to accompany her to the doctor’s – she said and so the long waiting line started for the medicine: an old man in search of his treatment for diabetes, another asking for headache pills, a boy at the drug store asking for a painkiller. Just one pill, but he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.” But Ofelia had a bag of medicine in her car which she always brings along with her, with medicines that arrived from  “Divine Providence”, as she herself recounts, and could offer them for free to all those who were there. The looks on their faces were of incredulity and gratitude.

Betty and Orlando have 4 kids and they transferred to the “Little Cloud” Mariapolis Centre,in the  district of Junquito, close to Caracas. “To  serve those in need– Betty recounts  –, we had lost touch with some members of the community so we organized the social pastoral. We wanted to respond to the need of food, clothing and homes for some families of the parish. So with the help of the town council, we managed to build a house fit to host a poor elderly man.”

“The current social crisis, with the high in security indices the country is beset with, opened our hearts even more to the needs of the families in our community who live in fear of even losing their lives. We found out about a boy’s father who was in serious conditions due to a gunshot wound. in his head. We rushed to the hospital where he was admitted at the intensive care and died a few days later. We are now continuing to give our concrete love, with care and attention to protect the mother and son, whom we took in with us.”

panorama“Upon the request of the parish priest – María Carolina of the Junquito community recounts – we went to a rural zone that can be reached only by jeep. The Florida community were waiting for us,  and in need of so many material things, and up to a few months earlier did not even have electricity. A community of sacrificed people, dedicated to farming and who walk kilometres to go to Mass once a month. An experience that involved all of us and which started up a communion of goods: from all over clothes, medicine, toys, shoes, food arrived… with trucks filled to the brim with goods but above all, hope, and love for this community. Even if difficulties are not missing, upon our arrival the people came out of their homes, running to meet us with applause, immediately imbuing a family atmosphere!.”

The community of Puerto Ayacucho, in the State of Amazzona, is a border zone,  inhabited by aborigine communities. They were beset with serious problems: the presence of guerillas, the exploitation of gold, a high rate of single mothers. It had just undergone a painful experience with the death of a boy, Felipe, a member of the Focolare, who had been killed two months earlier by gunshots. This is a frequent event in Venezuela, especially in this region. He had died to save the life of his brother who was wanted by the guerilla. Juan,his best friend, told us that «Felipe had set an appointment to enrol in the catechism class, but he died the day before… Together we had planned  a lot for the future.»  Felipe’s death had left a mark in this community:  a new commitment to live to build peace, give new horizons and hope especially to the youth.

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