Vatican prepared for Venezuela peace move

Cardnial Parolin suggested as mediator

The Vatican is studying the viability of intervening in the ongoing crisis in Venezuela following positive soundings by the country’s president.

On March 27, and after months of civil strife that has claimed nearly 40 lives, President Nicolas Maduro reportedly acceded to the urgent need for an independent mediator to foment dialogue between his supporters and the large number of civilians who have been challenging his rule through street disturbances. It is further reported that the president mentioned the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as a figure potentially acceptable to both sides. The cardinal was Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela from 2009 to 2013.

Venezuela has been rocked by street demonstrations since January when disaffection with government action against crime brought civilians onto the streets. Harsh measures to end the protests were met in turn by violence which has continued since, with no sign of a de-escalation by either side. Protestors have vowed to continue the demonstrations until the government steps down.

Acknowledging the possible peacebuilding role for Cardinal Parolin, Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said: “Speaking of the situation in Venezuela and a possible role of cardinal Parolin, the Holy See – and also personally Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin, who knows and loves Venezuela since he was nuncio – is certainly willing and eager to help the country. However, it is necessary to deepen and have more elements to better see what the expectations are and if there are preconditions to achieve the desired purpose”.