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Vatican to mediate in Venezuelan crisis talks

October 25, 2016

Venezuela’s government and opposition leaders have agreed to engage in talks aimed at resolving the country’s political crisis, with a Vatican’s representative acting as mediator.

Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, the apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, announced on October 25 that the talks would begin on October 30, on Margarita Island, off the Venezuelan coast. The archbishop said that the talks would be designed “to create an atmosphere of trust, overcome disagreement, and promote a mechanism that guarantees peaceful coexistence.”

The talks were announced on the same day that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro held a surprise meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Venezuela’s political crisis—simmering for months because of a catastrophic breakdown in the country’s economy—boiled over on Sunday, October 23, when the National Assembly, which is controlled by the opposition, passed a resolution saying that the Maduro government’s decision to postpone a recall referendum was “a breakdown in the constitutional order.” In response, Maduro supporters overwhelmed security guards, burst into the assembly, and roughed up lawmakers.

 
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