Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has sent a letter to Pope Francis asking the pontiff to “facilitate and reinforce dialogue” as more world leaders abandon the would-be president in favor of his opponent, Juan Guaido.
“I sent a letter to Pope Francis, I hope it is on his way or that it has already arrived in Rome, at the Vatican,” Mr. Maduro told Italian television Sunday.
The letter states “I am at the service of the cause of Christ,” Maduro said, “and with this spirit I have asked for his help.”
I ask the pope to make “his best effort to assist us on the path of dialogue,” Maduro declared, “and I hope to receive a positive response.”
On Monday, a group of European nations officially recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president. Among them, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and the Netherlands all acknowledged Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
The EU nations had attempted to pressure Mr. Maduro into calling snap elections by the end of Sunday, an appeal he ignored.
In early January, Pope Francis sent a Vatican representative to attend Maduro’s inauguration ceremony, just one day after the nation’s bishops had declared his presidency to be “illegitimate.”
In their statement, the bishops stated that the convocation to elect the Venezuelan president last May was illegitimate as was the Constituent National Assembly established by the executive authority.
“We are faced with arbitrary rule, without respect for the guarantees laid down in the Constitution or the highest principles of the dignity of the people,” they said.
Last week, the pontiff said he feared that the Venezuelan crisis would devolve into a “bloodbath.”
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