Following the talk of impeachment after the government cancelled the recall vote, Nicolás Maduro made an unscheduled stop by the Vatican, where Pope Francis advised Maduro to hold talks with the opposition (emphasis added),
In a statement, the Vatican said the pope received Mr. Maduro “within the framework of the worrisome, political, social and economic situation that the country is going through.”
“The Pope thus invited the President to undertake with courage the path of sincere and constructive dialogue, to alleviate the suffering of the people,” the statement added. Mr. Maduro, in a message posted on his official Twitter account, called it an “excellent private meeting with deep spirituality.”
A spokesman for Mr. Maduro and Jesus Torrealba, head of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, a coalition of opposition parties known as MUD, said the talks would begin Sunday on Margarita Island under the mediation of the Vatican and the Union of South American States, known as Unasur.
This latest political theater will work to Maduro’s advantage:
- The pressure is now on the opposition, again.
- It provides the regime an opportunity to defuse unrest.
- The Pope has already given Maduro legitimacy, with an added a special frisson of “consulting to a Higher Power” for the gullible, by receiving him.
- The Catholic Church gives its imprimatur to the talks by acting as mediator.
- The Church-mediated talks are a very important distraction from the country’s ruinous state, and will change nothing.
- In the immediate future, it waters down the impact of the protests scheduled for tomorrow.
- More importantly, as the article mentions, “Indeed, the announcement, which surprised some of the country’s top opposition leaders, many of whom apparently weren’t included in the talks, risks a split in the antigovernment alliance.”
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) October 25, 2016
Indeed, the Vatican meeting and the upcoming talks serve the only purpose of providing Maduro with a screen to which hide his denial of democracy, to borrow the WaPo’s phrase.
The Washington Post editorial board recommends instead that the United States should be coordinating tough international action. I estimate a zero chance of that.
Caracas Chronicles translated the Vatican Communiqué
Cross-posted at WoW! Magazine.