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Many in Venezuela’s 2nd city turn to prayer, not politics

Venezuela’s poorest in the once-thriving oil city of Maracaibo struggle to get through each day, unable or unwilling to join the call by opposition leaders to protest against President Nicolás Maduro.

They rely on the generosity of others, while thousands flood into a church to whisper prayers for a miraculous end to the Venezuelan crisis that has divided families.

Few in Maracaibo have responded to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s efforts to reignite his movement, despite it being a city hard hit by crisis. Its residents endure daily power outages in a region that’s punishingly hot.

In this Nov. 16, 2019 photo, commuters look at a small group anti-government demonstrators from a passing bus in Maracaibo, Venezuela. In Maracaibo, located in Venezuela’s western Zulia state along the Colombian border, many residents say they’ve abandoned political marches, lacking faith in leaders or fearing for their personal safety. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

Vast oil reserves pumped from Lake Maracaibo once made Venezuela one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations.

In this Nov. 16, 2019 photo, anti-government protestors block a road during a nationwide demonstration in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro, has urged Venezuelans to take to the streets, trying to reignite a movement started early this year. However, few in Maracaibo have responded, despite it being a city hard hit by crisis. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

In this Nov. 16, 2019 photo, shadows of anti-government protestors are cast on the asphalt during a demonstration in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro, has urged Venezuelans to take to the streets, trying to reignite a movement started early this year. However, few in Maracaibo have responded, despite it being a city hard hit by crisis. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

In this Nov. 18, 2019 photo, faithful hold up their kids so they can get a glimpse of the image of the Virgin of Chiquinquira, also called La Chinita, during a procession in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Thousands of Venezuelans flocking to Maracaibo’s ornate basilica each year at this time traditionally ask for help overcoming illness or conceiving a child. But many faithful say a crisis driving the exodus of millions has made them ask for something bigger than themselves. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

In this Nov. 18, 2019 photo, faithful referred to as "Servidores Mañaneros" or morning servers, carry the image of the Virgin of Chiquinquira during a procession, in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Thousands of Venezuelans flocking to Maracaibo’s ornate basilica each year at this time traditionally ask for help overcoming illness or conceiving a child. But many faithful say a crisis driving the exodus of millions has made them ask for something bigger than themselves. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)

In this Nov. 18, 2019 photo, faithful referred to as "Servidores Mañaneros" or morning servers, carry the image of the Virgin of Chiquinquira during a procession, in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Thousands of Venezuelans flocking to Maracaibo’s ornate basilica each year at this time traditionally ask for help overcoming illness or conceiving a child. But many faithful say a crisis driving the exodus of millions has made them ask for something bigger than themselves. (AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)