Failure could lead to ‘bloodshed’, warns Vatican
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. –