From Andres Oppenheimer in The Miami Herald:
Venezuela’s Conference of Bishops has released a bombshell statement demanding an immediate end of dictator Nicolás Maduro’s “illegitimate and failed government.” So why isn’t Pope Francis saying anything even close to that?
Before we get into the pope’s failure to openly denounce Maduro’s crimes against humanity, here’s what the Venezuelan bishops said in their July 11 statement:
“Facing an illegitimate and failed government, Venezuela craves for a change,” it said. “That change requires the departure of who holds power in an illegitimate way, and the election as soon as possible of a new president.”
Furthermore, the bishops said that, “In order for (the election) to be truly free and reflect the people’s sovereign will, it requires some essential conditions, such as a new and impartial National Electoral Council, an updated electoral registry and the supervision of international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the European Union.”
It added that another key condition for a free election should be the “closing of the National Constituent Assembly,” Maduro’s hand-picked Congress that he created after the opposition won the 2015 legislative elections for the National Assembly by a landslide.So what did the pope say after the bishops’ statement? Instead of echoing their demand that Maduro leave office, Pope Francis made an incredibly bland statement in his July 14 homily asking God to “inspire and illuminate both sides” so that they can “reach an agreement” to solve the Venezuelan crisis.
Far from putting pressure on Maduro, the pope’s statement played right into the Venezuelan dictator’s hands. Maduro has often called for a dialogue with the opposition in the past, but has always used such talks to win time and defuse national protests against his dictatorship. Time and again, he later clamped down on the opposition as soon as international attention shifted away from Venezuela.
Why is the pope such a wimp when it comes to Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis? Until recently, one could have speculated that his failure to denounce Maduro’s crimes was because the Vatican hoped to play a helpful role as a mediator in the situation.
But after several Vatican-brokered negotiations, the pope learned the hard way that Maduro was just playing games with the talks. Francis admitted that much in a Feb. 7 letter to Maduro that was leaked to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. In that letter, the pontiff reportedly wrote that every previous attempt to reach an agreement had failed “because what had been agreed in the meetings was not followed by concrete gestures to implement the agreements.”
Furthermore, Pope Francis’ July 14 statement about Venezuela was even more reprehensible because, in addition to the Venezuelan Conference of Bishops’ declaration, it came after a devastating report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Venezuela’s mass killings.
Go here to read the rest. One could be tempted to write this off as the normal type of mealy mouthed Vatican diplomacy, which could be expected to call on God and Satan to talk out their differences. However this Pontiff is not a normal Pope. He does not hesitate to call out politicians who cross him on prized issues of his agenda, for example mass Islamic immigration to Europe. No, his hesitancy on Venezuela is easier to explain. Maduro is a Leftist thug, and for this Pope the bad guys are always on the Right, and never on the Left. Meanwhile five million Venezuelans are fleeing their country. The Trump administration also deserves a fair amount of blame for allowing this humanitarian disaster to go on. Trump is allergic to foreign interventions, and so he talks tough and carries a big feather. However, it is in the interests of the US to topple Maduro and get the Venezuelans abroad, particularly in the US, back to Venezuela.