Merida, Venezuela, Feb 7, 2019 / 15:41 pm
The Archbishop of Merida has ruled out Vatican mediation of the Venezuelan crisis after president Nicolas Maduro made public a letter to Pope Francis requesting intervention.
“I think the circumstances say no. Why? Because it’s a call with a blank sheet of paper, but to talk about what, there’s no prior agenda,” Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida told Radio Continental, an Argentine news station, Feb. 6.
The cardinal, who is also serving as apostolic administrator of the Caracas archdiocese, noted that on prior occasions when the Vatican participated as a facilitator of dialogue, what the Vatican got from Maduro’s government was a “mockery.”
“That’s what you really have to call the times the Vatican has been called in,” Cardinal Porras said. “Out of good will the pope wanted to send someone, but it all came to naught.”
Additionally, the intention of Maduro's government to seek “a cosmetic way out” makes Vatican mediation “non-viable,” he said.
During the in-flight press conference en route from Abu Dhabi to Rome Feb. 5, Pope Francis said that mediation “takes the will of both parties, it has to be both parties who ask for it.”
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president of Venezuela, has not requested the Vatican’s mediation. Guaidó has been recognized as Venezuelan president by the US, Canada, much of the European Union, and several Latin American nations.
Cardinal Porras said that “it’s already routine for the government, when it feels under pressure, up to its neck in water, to call on its friends,” which include “countries that cannot be trusted at all in the cause for democracy … that is not the way to go.”