Fail­ure could lead to ‘blood­shed’, warns Vat­i­can

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IF up­com­ing Vat­i­can-backed talks be­tween Venezuela’s bit­terly an­tag­o­nis­tic govern­ment and op­po­si­tion fail, the re­sult could well be “blood­shed”, a pa­pal en­voy warned.

“If one del­e­ga­tion or the other ends the di­a­logue, it’s not the pope but the Venezue­lan peo­ple who will lose, be­cause the path then could truly be one of blood,” Arch­bishop Clau­dio Maria Celli told the Ar­gen­tine daily La Na­cion in Rome, af­ter vis­it­ing Cara­cas.

Both sides are due to start talks on Novem­ber 11 aimed at find­ing some way to re­solve Venezuela’s deep­en­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cri­sis.

The stakes are high for their oilde­pen­dent na­tion, which is suf­fer­ing a scarcity of food and ba­sic goods, and which its un­pop­u­lar Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro has in­creas­ingly put un­der the con­trol of his loyal mil­i­tary.

The agree­ment to hold talks, jointly bro­kered by the Vat­i­can and the Union of South Amer­i­can Na­tions, and backed by the United States, ush­ered in a short-lived truce be­tween the govern­ment and the op­po­si­tion.

The govern­ment re­leased a few op­po­si­tion mem­bers from prison. And the op­po­si­tion called off a sym­bolic “trial” in congress against Mr Maduro and a street protest.

But the prospects look less than promis­ing, with the op­po­si­tion de­mand­ing that the talks lead to early elec­tions, and Mr Maduro shoot­ing back, say­ing, “There can be no ul­ti­ma­tums”.

There are fears a break­down in the talks could see a re­turn of street con­fronta­tions be­tween anti-Maduro pro­test­ers and se­cu­rity forces, and pos­si­bly an es­ca­la­tion into out­right vi­o­lence. –

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