AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Pope Francis writes to Venezuelan leaders and opposition ahead of key talks

Friday, 11 April 2014

Caracas ( Agenzia Fides) - The Holy Father’s message was read out by Archbishop Aldo Giordano, the Apostolic Nuncio in Caracas at the start of a much-anticipated meeting Thursday night between President Nicolas Maduro and key members of the opposition.
In his letter, the Pope expressed his gratitude for having invited the Holy See to take part in this process of dialogue and peace, and calls on the Venezuelan population "not to get stuck in the conflict of the moment". Dialogue is reciprocal recognition and respect, it is a long and difficult road, which requires patience and courage, but it is the only one that can lead to justice and peace". "I assure each of you, continues the Pope - my prayers, so that this meeting and the process you are undertaking bear the desired fruits of national reconciliation and peace".
A message to the Apostolic Nuncio was also sent by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Peter Parolin, who said he is closely following the evolution of the situation as he knows the reality very well. Before being appointed Secretary of State by Pope Francis, Mgr. Parolin was Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela from 2009 to 2013.
Since February 12, Venezuela has been experiencing a wave of anti-government protests (see Fides 03/04/2014 and 25/03/2014), that have caused so far 40 deaths, hundreds have been injured and many have been arrested. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 11/04/2014)