"Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone" (1 Tim. 2:1).
Yesterday, my brother Franklin invited me to participate in a telephone prayer call for Venezuela. He described his increasing burden for the people there that stretches back over the last several years as 3.4 million people have walked out of the country. The socialist regime has reduced Venezuela, once the wealthiest country in Latin America, to less than third-world status.
In recent elections, socialist President Nicolas Maduro was defeated, but he has refused to relinquish his position and his power. While the legitimately elected president, Juan Guaido, has the full backing of the United States and 50 other countries, he cannot assume his position.
If someone wants to leave, the government allows them to take only one suitcase of belongings. Franklin described entire families walking across the border, dragging one suitcase behind them. And he said these are middle-class, well-to-do people who cannot survive the current conditions. Franklin spoke with one man who was coming back into Venezuela with a small plastic bag clutched in one hand. Inside were a few vegetables. When Franklin asked him if he could get vegetables in Venezuela, he said, "No more." President Maduro has now sealed the borders so no humanitarian aid can enter the country. The people are starving and desperate, so they have taken to the streets in violent protest. Because the country's leadership is backed by the military, the fear is that the tension is leading up to a massacre.
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After Franklin described the crisis taking place right now in Venezuela, Vice President Mike Pence came on the phone.