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Venezuela’s President Maduro meets with Pope about national crisis

October 24, 2016

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro met with Pope Francis on October 24, to discuss the escalating crisis in the South American country.

The Pope exhorted Maduro to “take up the path of contructive and honest dialogue to ease the suffering of the people, especially the poor,” the Vatican said in a statement released after the meeting.

The Vatican statement indicated that Pope Francis wishes to support “every step that might solve current issues that affect the country and to build trust between all parties.” Political tensions in Venezuela, which has been mired for months in a spiraling ecomic crisis, have heightened since the government called off a referendum vote that might have ousted Maduro from leadership. The country’s parliament has condemned the move, saying that the regime acted outside the law to prevent a public vote.

Maduro’s visit to the Vatican, which had not been announced in advance, came just a few days after Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida, the Venezuelan prelate who will be elevated to the College of Cardinals next month, said that Church leaders will be actively involved in promoting dialogue to ease the country’s crisis. “Never like in this pontificate has there been as much concern—but also understanding—of this country,” the archbishop said.

The Vatican statement said that the Monday meeting “took place in the framework of the worrying situation of the political, economic and social crisis that the country is going through and which is weighing heavily on the entire population.”

 
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