Venezuela (MNN) — President Nicolás Maduro won Venezuela’s presidential elections for a second term Sunday night. His next presidential term will last for another six years.
While Venezuela reports Maduro won 68 percent of the votes, the nation saw a staggeringly low turnout with less than half of registered voters participating.
It’s no secret that controversy surrounded this last election season in Venezuela. The European Union and several Latin nations exhorted that Venezuela’s presidential election was proceeding unfairly. Other nations, including the United States, denounced the election outright as a sham.
Steve Shantz with Trans World Radio (TWR) says, “I think the situation that is really of concern is that even if one of the opposition candidates were allowed to win, would that really change Venezuela’s fortunes? The economic woes that they are experiencing, would there be any relief for the citizens, the people of Venezuela who are really suffering these days? And the answer to that is probably not because they would face severe opposition from the military and organized crime in the country that very much back the socialist revolution that has happened there in Venezuela.”
This volatile election season comes at a time when the country is facing a lot of other turmoil. Citizens are suffering under a failing healthcare system and an unprecedented economic crisis. Venezuela currently has the world’s highest inflation rate at 13,000 percent.
“I heard of one guy who quit his job because he realized he just spent his entire salary on a pizza with his girlfriend. People don’t have enough resources to live on anymore. The minimum wage so far in 2018 has already been raised 56 times to try to keep track with inflation. Pharmacies have no medicines. Supermarkets have huge lines. So life is just very, very difficult for people on an everyday basis.”
The prevailing feeling is that, so far, nothing seems like it will change. And yet, everything has changed.
“People are very disheartened,” Shantz shares. “A friend of mine, a Venezuelan, just went back to Venezuela to visit her family and said that the whole mood in the country has changed and people have changed and everybody is despondent and depressed because of the situation that they’re in.”
In an environment like this, hope is hard to come by. But that’s where TWR comes in. Their radio programs are broadcasting the Gospel throughout Venezuela.
One of TWR’s morning shows is called Despertar, which means ‘Wake Up’ — a fitting title for a community that desperately needs to be reinvigorated with a spiritual hope that goes deeper than politics or the economy.
“We’re not trying to address the political situation. We’re trying to bring hope into people’s lives and bringing a message of hope to them through what the Bible teaches for how we should deal with these situations in our lives and also that there is hope in faith in God and in Jesus Christ.”
However, TWR’s programming hasn’t been without difficulty as well. “Our offices are in Maracay and there has been electrical failure in the neighborhood where the offices are in. So we’ve been unable to produce radio programs because there is no electricity. Our staff are really struggling to continue to operate there, but we are broadcasting a daily message of hope into Venezuela.”
Venezuela needs the Body of Christ’s prayers on multiple fronts.
For TWR, Shantz shares, “Our staff has asked us to pray for them so they would be able to continue to be able to function on a daily basis, just to get to work and get home again. They have asked us to pray that the electricity would be restored so that they can continue to produce the radio programs because they are passionate about the ministry to their own countrymen.”
Please also pray for Venezuela as a nation and the citizens who are suffering in the current circumstances. Shantz suggests as you pray, put yourself in their shoes.
“Pick somebody, an imaginary person in Venezuela who has the same job as you and picture how you would be able to function and carry on your daily life in the situations that they are facing. Pray for that person specifically. Pray for somebody like you in Venezuela, that God would meet their needs and that God would fix the problems in the country and that Venezuela would be ultimately returned one day to a more stable economic basis so that people’s lives can go on.”
(Header photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)