Catholic World News

Vatican calls for negotiations, elections to resolve Venezuelan crisis.

June 16, 2017

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has told Latin American leaders that the Holy See supports negotiations to resolve the political and economic crisis in Latin America.

“The Holy See continues to consider that a serious and sincere negotiation between the parties, based on very clear conditions, beginning with the celebration of constitutionally scheduled elections, can solve the serious situation in Venezuela and the suffering to which the population is subjected,” Cardinal Parolin said in his letter. He said that the Vatican will continue to push for a peaceful solution to the crisis and an end to violent confrontations in Venzuela.

The cardinal’s message essentially reiterates the stand that Pope Francis has taken consistently, calling for negotiations but avoiding direct criticism of the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan bishops have been far more outspoken in their criticism of the regime and their support for public protests.

The statement from the Secretary of State does make the subtle point that negotiations should be “based on very clear conditions,” including the scheduling of elections. After agreeing to mediate talks between the government and opposition leaders, the Vatican backed away when the talks stalled because the government refused to fulfill the agreed-upon conditions, including the scheduling of elections. Nevertheless Vatican officials have carefully avoided assigning blame for the failure of the talks.

President Maduro took advantage of the Vatican’s careful stance this week by releasing a statement calling for Pope Francis to denounce the opposition leadership for “training children” to participate in public protests against the government. Maduro has also charged the Venezuelan bishops with stirring up protests. Thus his appeal to the Pope appeared to be a bid to accentuate differences in approach between the Pope and the Venezuelan hierarchy.

Pope Francis met last week with a delegation from the Venezuelan bishops’ conference to discuss the crisis. The letter from Cardinal Parolin to Latin American political leaders was the first substantial statement of Vatican policy since that meeting.

In what may be another indication of the Vatican’s desire to maintain a low profile on the issue, Cardinal Parolin’s was not released by the Vatican press office. It was made public by an Italian news site, Sismografo.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Jun. 16, 2017 7:10 PM ET USA

    The statement "celebration of constitutionally scheduled elections" sounds like the conclusion of the elections to me which would be a non starter as I am sure he knows that he can't win a free election.