Pope Francis met privately with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, urging a peaceful dialogue between the country’s government and opposition to resolve the current political and economic crisis, the Vatican said.
The Venezuelan leader, who was returning from a state visit to the Middle East, made an unannounced stop at the Vatican on 24th October to meet with the pope.
The meeting, the Vatican said, “took place within the framework of the worrisome political, social and economic situation that the country is going through – a situation that is having serious repercussions in the daily lives of the entire population.”
Tensions in the country increased after electoral authorities in the country suspended a referendum on 20th October that sought to remove Maduro in the midst of an economic crisis that has left thousands without food or basic necessities.
The Vatican said the pope “has at heart the welfare of all Venezuelans” and “desired to continue to offer his contribution” to resolving the crisis.
Picture: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household, prior to a private meeting between Maduro and Pope Francis at the Vatican on 24th October. (CNS photo/Miraflores Palace handout via EPA).