Venezuelan Baptists ask for prayer after uprising

The Venezuelan National Baptist Convention has called upon fellow believers around the world to pray for Venezuela following an April 30 military uprising in the capital city of Caracas against embattled President Nicolás Maduro’s government. 

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó reportedly took to the streets with heavily armed soldiers and opposition activist Leopoldo López, whom the military freed from house arrest. In a three-minute video posted on Twitter, Guaidó called on Venezuelans to back the uprising. 

“The moment is now,” he said at the La Carlota air base in Caracas.

Southern Baptists working alongside national believers in Venezuela released a statement calling for prayer saying, “This is a crucial day for a divided nation.” They reported Tuesday afternoon the “situation continues undefined, moving rather slowly.”

Earlier in the day Southern Baptist workers reported that “gunfire is being exchanged in a major Caracas zone where civilians are caught in the middle.” 

Other parts of the city, they said, reported gunfire in their neighborhoods, while others have been placed under house arrest by the secret police. 

Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted the government will quash the attempted coup by military “traitors.” Troops loyal to Maduro reportedly fired tear gas as Lopez spoke at a highway overpass near the air base.

In January 2019, Guaidó declared himself the acting president of Venezuela, insisting that Maduro’s 2018 reelection was illegitimate. The growing military backing could open the door to deposing Maduro.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” Guaidó said. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution, they are on the right side of history.”

The U.S. and several other nations have recognized Guaidó and urged Maduro to step down. 

‘Ongoing collaspe’

Hundreds of protesters have been arrested and reports say at least 57 have been killed since then. During the May 1–2 uprising at least four people were killed and more than 200 wounded, according to human rights group Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict.

Refugees fleeing Venezuela’s ongoing economic collapse are crossing the country’s borders to Colombia and Brazil, adding a new front in Latin America’s already critical migration situation with thousands facing dangerous journeys to escape famine, poverty and political chaos.

Faith groups including Baptists have stepped up their relief programs across Latin America. (BP, TAB)