News / Americas

Venezuela Reaches Out to Vatican to Mediate Crisis

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 201
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters after his meeting with representatives of the Venezuelan coalition of opposition parties Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) and the Union of South American Nations' foreign ministers in Caracas, April 8, 201
Reuters
Venezuela's government formally invited Vatican No. 2 Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Wednesday to mediate talks with the opposition in hopes of stemming violence that has killed dozens in the nation's worst unrest in a decade.
 
In a letter, President Nicolas Maduro's government asked that Parolin, a former envoy to Venezuela who is now the Vatican's secretary of state, be named a “good faith witness” to a dialog agreed after two months of protests.
 
A Vatican spokesman confirmed the Roman Catholic Church's willingness to mediate, but gave no details.
 
Venezuela's opposition coalition had indicated that current Vatican envoy, Aldo Giordano, would be attending the first formal talks, which are to start on Thursday in Caracas.
 
Both Vatican officials are Italian.
 
Parolin, who represented the Vatican in Venezuela from 2009 to 2013, is a frugal, publicity-shy career diplomat.
 
The Vatican has helped mediate before in Latin America, including in a territorial dispute between Argentina and Chile in 1978 and a hostage standoff in Peru in 1996-1997.
 
Venezuela's government and the Democratic Unity opposition coalition held a first preliminary meeting on Tuesday, agreeing to start a formal dialog over issues ranging from crime and economic problems to the detention of dozens of protesters.

Capriles to attend
 
Henrique Capriles, the opposition's two-time presidential candidate who narrowly lost to Maduro in a vote last year, confirmed he would take part in the discussions.
 
“I will go to defend the truth,” he told reporters. “Debate doesn't mean our people stop protesting. Quite the opposite. Peaceful protest must continue because the problems continue.”
 
Hardline demonstrators, however, are not happy about the talks and say there should be no negotiations while another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, and others remain in prison.
 
Protesters took to the streets in early February, with some openly seeking to provoke a “Venezuelan Spring” that would force Maduro out of power. There have been daily clashes since then as security forces and pro-government militants have faced off with hooded opposition demonstrators blocking streets.
 
With the armed forces apparently still behind him, and the opposition failing to bring out the millions they had hoped for, Maduro's position does not appear to be under threat.
 
He does, however, face a big challenge to remedy the roots of the crisis, including the highest inflation in the Americas, shortages of basic goods, a beleaguered private sector, and a violent crime rate that is among the world's worst.
 
Hundreds of people have been injured and arrested since the protests started. The dead, who number 39 according to the government, include Maduro supporters, opponents, and members of the security force.
 
Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver, has made preserving predecessor Hugo Chavez's socialist legacy the guiding principle of his government. Opponents say he is wrecking Venezuela by sticking to a failed and authoritarian model.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Tourism, Farm Groups See Bigger Business With Cuba

'We are the closest major food producer that Cuba has,' an American Farm Bureau Federation spokesman notes
More

Castro Lauds US Outreach, Says Cuba to Remain Communist

In speech to lawmakers, Cuba's president says economic reforms will be accelerated, yet changes will be gradual
More

Raul Castro Steps Out of Brother's Shadow With US Deal

Cuban president scores diplomatic triumph, surge in support with this week's deal that ends decades of hostility with United States
More

US Report: Immigration Officials' Apprehensions Rose in 2014

Apprehensions of Mexicans fall 14 percent; those of individuals from other countries, predominantly in Central America, rise 68 percent
More

Strife, Mutual Interests Mark Cuba-US Ties

Island nation was once a vacation destination for Americans; over years, many Cubans sought refuge across the Florida Straits
More

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change
More