San José, Costa Rica, Jan 10, 2019 / 17:01 pm
Twenty former heads of state and government from Latin America have written a letter to Pope Francis finding fault with the wording of his Christmas blessing for Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Published in Spanish-language newspapers Dec. 6, the letter claims the pope's Dec. 25 "Urbi et Orbi" blessing unintentionally minimized the oppression of Venezuelans and Nicaraguans at the hands of their governments.
The letter's signatories, which include Nobel Peace Prize-winner and former president of Costa Rica Oscar Arias, said it was not doubted that Francis' good faith and "pastoral spirit" was behind the message, but it "is being interpreted in a very negative way by the majority of Venezuela and Nicaragua."
"Above all, there is currently, in these countries, a political dispute that demands understanding, tolerance between conflicting forces with different narratives within a normal or deficient democracy that today unfortunately does not exist there," it continued.