Last Thursday, Venezuela’s Catholic Bishops had a brief session with Pope Francis at the Cardinal’s Palace at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia.
The Vatican has already rejected the legitimacy of the Venezuelan Government’s formation of a Constitutional Assembly, allegedly approved by popular vote in August. In an extraordinary move, the Vatican called for its suspension soon after its formation through a statement signed by Pope Francis’s right-hand man, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
This session was perhaps even more remarkable for the statement Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas, who previously called eviction of Venezuela’s legislature ‘unacceptable’, made after it. Urosa declared, “The dialogue and consultation that Pope Francis wants in Venezuela is not possible because the Government does not listen to reason. Dialogue is not possible with a totalitarian government. We cannot lose hope, we cannot give up.”
“We have to defend our rights and those of others. We have to act within the frame of the constitution and the laws, but we have to do something,” he said.
This is not the first time Cardinal Urosa has spoken out against Nicolás Maduro’s Chavista government. In April, during the procession of the Nazarene of St. Paul in the Basilica Santa Teresa, Chavista groups under the government’s control attacked the Archbishop of Caracas as he gave a speech encouraging freedom in Venezuela, while the police merely looked on.
The aggressors pushed Cardinal Urosa, Archbishop of Caracas, while presbyters and seminarians sheltered him and took him to the sacristy.
It is not just the Catholic Church which is currently condemning Venezuela. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, warned Monday that Maduro’s government may move to further crush democratic institutions and that crimes against humanity may have already been committed by his security forces, according to the New York Times.
Which makes it all the more surprising that the New York Times ran a $200,000 dollar advertisement from the Venezuelan regime, which its journalists are reporting is torturing its own people. Even more surprising that the New York Times should be seen accepting funds from a regime reported to help sustain itself through drug trafficking and money laundering, which New York Times journalists have even reported on in the past themselves. How can a newspaper take funds from a regime that dares accuse AP reporters of being floaters engaged in espionage?
And more surprising still that the British Opposition – the Labour Party run by Chavista-supporting leftist Jeremy Corbyn – has invited Venezuelan Ambassador to Britain, Her Excellency Rocio Maneiro, as guest of honour at an “anti-sanctions” rally at the annual Labour Party Conference later this month. The Venezuelan Ambassador has been invited to address the “Hands Off Latin America – No To Blockade Of Cuba And Sanctions On Venezuela” event on Tuesday 26 September. It is organised by the controversial Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (and its sister organization Cuba Solidarity Campaign) and hosted by Labour MPs Chris Williamson and Karen Lee.
When will the Left realise that the Venezuelan regime is obviously a dictatorship with blood on its hands and should no longer be entertained or given a platform? When will the Left start listening to the likes of Cardinal Urosa, the Vatican and the UN? Or does the Maduro regime’s wrapping itself in the red cloak of socialism – like Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe – give it a perpetual free pass?
Dominic Wightman is a British businessman living between the UK & Venezuela. He is married to the Venezuelan TV Presenter & Fashion Model, Widmaru Calma.