Venezula invites cardinal to peace talks

Venezula has formally invited Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to mediate in the country’s ongoing civil crisis.

Having reached an agreement with members of the opposition for such a move, President Nicolas Maduro issued a letter of invitation on April 9 requesting that Pope Francis allow the former Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela (2009-2012) to return “as a good faith witness” in proposed peace talks between the government and representatives, agreed just a day before the official invitation.

After months of deadly violence between ordinary citizens and forces of the government, plans are now underway to bring opponents to the negotiating table towards addressing issues of popular discontent. The demonstrations were initially sparked by perceived inaction by the authorities against violent crime and snowballed as opponents of the administration of President Maduro joined the ranks of protestors to demand he quit.

Should Cardinal Parolin de dispatched to Venezuela as hoped, he will join representatives from Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador who have, as mediators, brokered a first round of talks on April 10.

As The Irish Catholic went to press this week, a response from Rome was awaited on Cardinal Parolin’s participation.