Demonstrations broke out in the country in January 2014 after Monica Spear, a former Miss Venezuela, was murdered along with her ex-husband on a highway near Caracas when their car broke down.
Protests intensified after the attempted rape of a student shortly after Spear's death, and since then Maduro's government has jailed many peaceful protestors and political opponents. The regime is known to have committed gross abuses, including violence, against those who don't share their political ideologies.
As head of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Sosa "can influence changes in Venezuela in order to go out of this disastrous government," Fr. Duplá said.
Fr. Sosa, 67, was elected as the 31st Superior General of the Jesuits Oct. 14, marking the first time a Latin American has led the Society; moreover, he takes the helm under the Church's first Jesuit and Latin American Pope.
In an Oct. 18 news conference with journalists in Rome about election, Fr. Sosa spoke directly about the situation in Venezuela, explaining that the political movement Chavez pioneered and which is now headed by Maduro, is "based on revenues and doesn't sustain itself, politically, economically, or ideologically."
He said that neither does the Venezuelan opposition have a project that allows one to think "of a future that isn't based on revenues, which is the only way to progress long-term and to better the situation of Venezuelans."
To understand what is happening in Venezuela, he said, it's necessary to remember that it's a country which "lives on oil revenue, and that this oil revenue is exclusively administered by the state."
"(This) makes the formation of a democratic society very difficult," he said, explaining that "normally a democratic society has its foundation in that the state is subordinate to the citizens. In a democracy, it is the citizens who produce and maintain the state."
However, in the case of Venezuela, "the fact that oil sales are exclusively directed by the state makes it the state that maintains society. Thus, this democratic creation becomes difficult," Fr. Sosa said.
Despite Fr. Duplá's personal experience with Fr. Sosa, some have claimed the new Jesuit father general's position in politics, both now and in the past, is in fact aligned to the Chavez-Maduro regime, supporting Marxist principals promoted by Venezuela's socialist government as well as a liberation theology rooted in Marxism.
Liberation theology sprung up in Latin America in the 1950s, and some forms were a Marxist interpretation of the Gospel, focusing on freedom from material poverty and injustice rather than giving primacy to spiritual freedom.
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Under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith twice issued instructions regarding liberation theology: 1984's Libertatis nuntius drew attention to "the deviations, and risks of deviation … brought about by certain forms of liberation theology which use, in an insufficiently critical manner, concepts borrowed from various currents of Marxist thought." This was followed in 1986 by Libertatis conscientia, which presented Christian doctrine on freedom and liberation, and was meant to be read together with its predecessor.
In an Oct. 16 post on his blog "L'Espresso," veteran Vatican analyst Sandro Magister said that in a 1978 article for the SIC magazine, Fr. Sosa had called a Marxist interpretation of the Christian faith and liberation theology both "legitimate" and "necessary."
However, Magister is known not to be the most ardent admirer of some members of the Society of Jesus.
In the same article Magister refers to on his blog, Fr. Sosa explains that a Marxist interpretation of the Christian faith was "legitimate" in the sense that at the time, Christians existed who stuck to their faith, yet "at the same time proclaim themselves Marxist and are committed in the transformation of the capitalist society into a socialist society."
Later on in the article Fr. Sosa said that "a Marxist meditation of the Christian faith would be the worst instrumentalization that could be done to a religion – in relation with God – which, in putting the Crucified Jesus at its center, breaks with any intent of a human construction of God and affirms him as the one who is always unprecedented in his potential."
Referring to Fr. Sosa's own position, Fr. Duplá said he wasn't necessarily closed to liberation theology, and that when it comes to reconciling the idea with the Church, a careful, nuanced distinction must be made between the intent of liberation theology and its Marxist beginnings.