Venezuela (MNN) — On Sunday, more than seven million Venezuelans turned out for a mock referendum vote. This unsanctioned demonstration was organized by the opposition party, and balloters voted on President Maduro’s proposed new assembly that would allow him to rewrite the constitution. The overwhelming majority — 98 percent — voted ‘no’.
We spoke with Annabel Torrealba of Trans World Radio, a broadcast ministry that beams the Gospel into Venezuela and other countries. She explains, “That vote was only symbolic because it doesn’t change anything.”
While Venezuelans waited in line at a mock voting station in Caracas, pro-government motorists drove by and shot into the crowd, killing one woman and wounding four others. Nearly 100 people have died in Venezuela’s recent riotous past.
“The opposition thinks that behind the idea of President Maduro [creating] the new constituent assembly is to dissolve state institutions including the National Assembly.”
Maduro is currently pushing for elections on his new assembly proposition on July 30th this year. While the opposition held their mock referendum vote, the government held a “trial run” for the July 30th vote on the same day. And while the vast majority of opposition voters rejected the new assembly proposal, the government considered their own trial vote a “success”, according to the BBC.
Oppositionists accuse Madura of sabotaging democratic procedures and mismanaging the economy. Falling oil prices account for 95 percent of the nation’s export revenue, and have led to a crippled economy resulting in food and medicine shortages.
“Basic necessities such as medicine and food are in short supply, and this is the day by day in Venezuela. It’s really hard to find food,” says Torrealba. “They don’t know what to do, they are trying to find food, they are trying to find medicines, they are trying to keep their families together.”
The government has been giving out some rations, but it doesn’t always meet the needs of bigger families. Many families have even been separated.
“These people are suffering every day with the situation, no matter if you’re opposition or if you support the government. It’s the same thing.”
When a nation like Venezuela is going through a dark season and all you can see is tunnel, how can the light of Christ’s hope pierce through?
It’s not easy, but Torrealba says that’s why TWR’s goal is to be “supporting the churches, and the way we can do it is just to broadcast programs to share the Gospel with them, share hope with them.”
In fact, we recently shared when Trans World Radio completed fundraising for their Bonaire Power Up Project. This will allow them to send a stronger radio signal into Venezuela and other nearby countries in a few months — which means more people will hear their Great Commission programming.
TWR recently went to Bonaire and the believers there were very excited about the work expanding. Torrealba even says her Facebook page is covered with comments of believers who are anticipating the upcoming power up.
“Every time we pray for some of our friends who are facing hard times, we can see God’s hand working in their families and people around them. It’s amazing, the testimonies in the last few years I had with this situation in Venezuela. I just can tell you that God is there and God is going to provide a way for what is happening in Venezuela, what they are facing right now.”
Torrealba shares this particular story: “One of my friends there, he got sick. And he had to go close to the capital, to Maracay, the city, and he had to travel there to get health care and he needed a surgery.”
People were praying for this man because often there is no space in the hospital. And even if someone can get into the hospital for treatment, they can’t always get the attention they need.
After several prayer warriors interceded for him, Torrealba’s friend was able to get the surgery he needed. And, Torrealba adds, “It is incredible how God works because the doctor that made the surgery, she was a believer.”
Prayer can make a difference in the nation of Venezuela. Here are some things you can pray for: “I think we should pray for wisdom for our governors. We should pray for churches in Venezuela to keep preaching the Gospel and bring more people to God, to ask for strength for believers.”
Pray also for perseverance and wisdom for church leaders in Venezuela. And ask God to make a way for the provision of food and medicine where people most need it.
“I think the only way that something will happen in Venezuela is through the prayers.”