Pope in Panama blasts corruption as he prays for Venezuelans

  • Pope Francis waves to faithful flanked by Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela and first lady Lorena Castillo at entrance of the presidential palace in Panama City, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Francis opens his first full day Thursday with a visit to the presidential palace and ending with his evening welcoming young Catholics who have gathered in Panama for World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

  • Flanked by Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela, right, and first lady Lorena Castillo, Pope Francis arrives at the foreign ministry headquarters Palacio Bolivar, in Panama City, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Francis opens his first full day Thursday with a visit to the presidential palace and ends with an evening welcome for young Catholics who have gathered in Panama for World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • People ready their phones to make a photo of Pope Francis riding past, in Panama City, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Francis is urging the bishops across Central America to work together to welcome, protect and integrate migrants and serve as an example to help the rest of society overcome fears about foreigners. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

PANAMA CITY — Pope Francis insisted Thursday that public officials live simply, honestly and transparently as he opened a visit to a Central American region that has been rife with corruption scandals and is now coping with political upheaval in nearby Venezuela.

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