ROME — Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro blasted Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin this week for a letter sent to local businesspeople calling for a “more just and democratic Venezuela.”
“Explain to us, Pietro Parolin, what do you, as chancellor of the Vatican, have to do with Venezuela?” Maduro said during an event Wednesday. He sends a letter that is “a compendium of hate, venom, bickering, intrigues, and cynicism.”
Without equal opportunities, “different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode,” Parolin said in his letter, still quoting Francis. “When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility.”
In his reaction to the letter, which was read aloud on Tuesday at Fedecámaras’ annual meeting, by the auxiliary bishop of Caracas, Ricardo Barreto, Maduro went on to call into question if Parolin had even written it.
“I’m not sure he sent it, they say he sent a letter,” Maduro said. “But I just wonder, I don’t think so, because Pietro Parolin has a lot of work in Rome. I really don’t think he wrote it.”
In 2019, Maduro sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to “facilitate and reinforce dialogue” as world leaders were abandoning him 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,” Maduro told Italian television at the time.
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 said, “and I hope to receive a positive response.”
In January of that year, Francis sent a Vatican representative to attend Maduro’s inauguration ceremony, even after the nation’s bishops had declared his presidency to be “illegitimate.”
“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,” the bishops said in their statement.