Venezuela’s Maduro to Ask Pope to Mediate with Opposition Again


The Vatican is already part of the group of mediators within the dialogue process launched last year between the government and opposition sectors.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday that he will send a letter to Pope Francis asking him to mediate the political conflict with opposition sectors that have encouraged violence in the streets for the past two months, resulting in over 70 deaths and many injuries. The right-wing opposition walked away from talks led by the pope earlier this year.

“I will send a letter to Pope Francis so that he and the Vatican can help us by serving as mediator with the Venezuelan opposition, so they stop using children in violent protests,” he said during a ceremony where volunteers of the movement, “We Are Venezuela,” were taking an oath to help strengthen the country’s social programs.
One month ago, Pope Francis, who has repeatedly urged dialogue between sectors in Venezuela, criticized part of the opposition for not being willing to sit down for talks. The Catholic leader called on Venezuelan bishops to denounce “any form of violence.”
Despite Pope Francis’ calls, Venezuelan opposition leaders said they would not participate in the National Constituent Assembly convened by Maduro to rewrite the constitution.
The assembly was called with the goal of easing the ongoing political tensions and supporting dialogue with the opposition. Maduro invoked Article 347 of the Bolivarian Constitution, which allows for the convening of a national constituent assembly with the purpose of “transforming the state.”
Despite previously calling for a constituent assembly, the opposition is now rejecting the call and instead continues to call for protests which aim to topple the democratically-elected government.
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