Feb. 26 - Pope Francis calls for an end to the deadly violence in Venezuela, as fresh demonstrations call for President Nicolas Maduro to step down. Mana Rabiee reports.
Papal prayers for peace. Pope Francis on Wednesday called for an end to the violence in Venezuela that's left 13 people dead. Addressing tens of thousands during his weekly general audience at the Vatican, the Pope called for national dialogue in Venezuela and sent his prayers to the victims of the fighting. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "I am following with particular apprehension the events that are unfolding these days in Venezuela. I hope the violence and hostility comes to an end, and all the Venezuelan people, starting with those in politics and institutions, strive for national reconciliation through reciprocal forgiveness and dialogue." Demonstrations have rocked the Venezuelan capital, Caracas and other cities. Protesters are demanding President Nicolas Maduro step down. They're angry over issues like high crime, inflation and shortages of basic supplies like milk and flour. On Wednesday, Maduro addressed his supporters and called for peace. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO SAYING: "Until when will there be intolerance and hate? Venezuela no longer wants hate. Venezuela no longer wants protests. Venezuela wants peace, tolerance, love and coexistence." Maduro's invited the Church, business and opposition leaders to meet with him on Wednesday at the presidential palace to discuss peace. The clashes are the biggest challenge to his 10-month-old government.