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Pope Francis Calls for an End to Venezuelan Violence

The head of the Roman Catholic Church is calling for an end to violent demonstrations in Venezuela.

Vatican Radio says during his weekly Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis said he hopes the hostility will cease as soon as possible

The Pontiff called for "the whole Venezuelan people ... to promote reconciliation through mutual forgiveness and sincere dialogue."

Demonstrations in Venezuela began two weeks ago, but have grown after at least 13 people were killed, and more than 500 arrested.

Protesters are demanding President Nicolas Maduro resign over the country's high crime rate, inflation and shortages of staples such as milk and flour.

The Maduro government blames the violence on right-wing opponents of his government, accusing them of receiving support from the United States. The U.S. government denies involvement in the unrest.

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