By BBN Staff: Pope Francis has thanked the Government of Colombia for its decision to offer temporary protective legal status to almost 2 million Venezuelan immigrants.
The Associated Press reports that Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announced the 10-year protection statute last week, which will give 1.8 million Venezuelans now living in Colombia permission to stay and the possibility to apply for permanent residency.
In remarks to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square earlier today, Francis defined Colombia’s decision to help millions of immigrants despite having its own problems with development, poverty, and peace courageous.
“Thanks to Colombia, thanks,” Francis said. “I thank everyone for what they do for migrants.” He also noted that, when considering the “style of God,″ the important words to remember ar are ”closeness, compassion, tenderness.”
The immigrants fled Venezuela to escape from food shortages, hyperinflation, and the lowest wages in the Western Hemisphere. The country has been reeling for the past several years from more than 100 economic sanctions imposed by the United States, including the freezing over $400 million of the country’s money being held in foreign banks.
These economic sanctions are major contributors to ever-worsening living conditions in Venezuela and continue to feed political unrest in the nation as the US tries to topple the regime of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.