Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on Pope Francis Tuesday to intercede on behalf of Venezuela and prevent any form of U.S. military invasion.
Maduro told attendees of the Tuesday press conference that he believed Francis would aid Venezuela to continue “dialogue, peace, understanding, and defense of Venezuela’s sovereignty,” according to Crux Now. Maduro’s fear of a U.S. invasion comes in the wake of President Donald Trump’s remarks that the military option is on the table for preventing Venezuela’s descent into dictatorship.
“May the pope help us prevent Trump from sending troops to invade Venezuela,” Maduro said. “I ask for the pope’s help against the military threat from the United States. (I ask) that you don’t abandon me, that you don’t abandon us.”
Maduro’s socialist regime has pushed Venezuela into a political and economic crisis, leading to street battles where government armed forces have killed more than 100 protestors. (RELATED: Food Shortages Are So Bad In Venezuela That People Are Eating Stolen Zoo Animals)
Maduro also asked Francis to facilitate negotiations between himself and political rivals within Venezuela. The Vatican’s help seems unlikely, however, as it has demanded Maduro’s release of political prisoners, an acknowledgment of the country’s humanitarian crisis, and national elections before the Vatican will offer any aid in negotiations.
Maduro made clear that his appeal was solely to Francis and that he refused to work or speak with the Vatican, due to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s talks with Russia about the Venezuelan crisis. Maduro also expressed disdain for the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, which has long criticized Maduro’s regime.
“I cry for the true Christian spirit of the pope and believe in him,” Maduro said. “Another thing is the Vatican and the Vatican’s Secretary of State. I will not talk about them. Another thing is the [Venezuelan] Bishops’ Conference, I will not talk about them. May the people, may Catholics judge them.”
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