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Pope Francis, saddened by shooting of 14-year-old boy in Venezuela, asks for common ground

A woman holds up a picture of people who have died during anti-government protests as she stands outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Protesters gathered here to ask Pope Francis to intervene after the Tuesday death of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head during an anti-government protest in the city of San Cristobal. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A woman holds up a picture of people who have died during anti-government protests as she stands outside the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Protesters gathered here to ask Pope Francis to intervene after the Tuesday death of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head during an anti-government protest in the city of San Cristobal. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Pope Francis is urging Venezuelans to pull together for the common good of their nation after the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy during an anti-government protest.

In Caracas, some protesters are alarmed by a crackdown on government opponents, while other demonstrators support the embattled socialist government.

Francis cited the boy's death in San Cristobal last week as he urged Venezuelans to "refuse violence." Speaking to pilgrims Sunday in St. Peter's Square, the pope said: "I encourage the resumption of a common path for the good of the country" and urged constructive dialogue.

Economic and social woes have been plaguing the Latin American country.

Opposition activists have protested the arrest of the Caracas mayor and the boy's death in a town known for protest movements.

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